The rapidly growing opioid epidemic in the United States is pushing researchers to explore new paths to find solutions to the issue of addiction. A prime example of this is taking place in Boston, where Edward Boyer and Peter Chai of Brigham and Women’s Hospital have invented new pill capsules that will help doctors monitor if patients are taking their prescriptions properly.
With 125,00 deaths and 10% of hospitalizations each year caused by misuse of medications, this invention could be key in showing prescribers how patients given opioids take their dosages. Because these medications are highly addictive, it is important for doctors to know if their patients are overusing them in order to allow them to intervene.
Boyer and Chai partnered with EtectRx of Florida to develop a capsule containing a wireless sensor that envelops pills such as opioids. It sends a signal to a small device worn around the user’s neck that then sends a message to their doctor’s smartphone. The capsule is digested normally when entering the stomach. This technology was approved by the FDA, and has been used with the antipsychotic drug Abilify. Although it is effective in providing information, restrictions to the technology include the neck sensor’s bulky size, low signal strength, and limited patient willingness to use the device. However, with improvements they plan to test the technology on patients who have used opioids on a long term basis to treat chronic pain.
Research like this could be key in future efforts to diminish the growing epidemic of opioid dependency. If you or a loved one is struggling to fight addiction, there is help out there. Call our drug addiction rehabilitation center in Tampa to learn more.