"Pharmaceutical companies are going to be more interested in where we are going than where we. We take a generally recognized
assay—an additive to an excipient that doesn't need FDA clearance," says Richard Melker of Xhale. The company has taken a
secondary alcohol, in this case butinol, and incorporated it into the matrix of the capsule. As the gelatin dissolves in the
capsule, the butinol is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenates and is turned into a chemical that comes out in the breath almost
instantaneously after the capsule is dissolved. Using a device that was originally designed to detect chemical warfare agents,
doctors can test patients' breath to make sure they took their medicine. According to the company, there's no way to fake
the test, because the chemical reaction won't happen until the drug hits the intestinal wall. Good luck explaining that one.
Sick of having your mom reminding you to take your medicine? Things are about to get worse. The SIMpill Smart Pill Despenser
not only can tell when you haven't ingested your drug, it will send a text message reminder to your phone or an e-mail informing
you of your lapse. Unlike a traditional reminder system, the SIMpill doesn't nudge people to take their drug regimen in advance.
"We don't want to send a reminder every time because they get reminder fatigue," says Ann-Mari Albertson, managing director
at SIMpill. "In this case, the patient receives the reminder only after they forget to take it."
Keep ignoring the system and you're going to get in trouble. The SIMpill features an escalation program that senses how long
it's been since the box was opened and sends a text to a family member if the patient continues to ignore reminders. Albertson
says that this feature is particularly useful in case of an emergency, though it works just as well for forgetful children
As an added bonus, pharma companies can get statistical information in real time via the Web. For example, researchers at
trial locations can check how many patients are taking their medicine on time. The stats can be broken down into demographics
such as age, sex, and race.
The Med-eMonitor by InforMedix is a data and pill repository that stores medication and care plans for patients, and delivers
them via an easy-to-read LCD screen. Think of it as a cross between a Sidekick phone and a pill dispenser. Not only does it
deliver instructions on how to take medication, it also captures adherence information and the reasons why a patient has
stopped taking his or her medication (failure to resupply, side effects, etc).
Patients can theoretically receive a whole-care plan through the system, with messages appearing on the actual pill dispenser.
The solution can be custom-tailored based on disease state, and information is delivered via a phone connection to the Internet.
When it's time to take a pill, the box sounds a chime. While it can only hold five types of medication, the unit can store
information and reminders for other treatments.
Most adherence devices track compliance passively, only detecting when the user opens a pill box to access the medication.
However, such devices can't tell whether the drug is ingested and by whom. Not anymore. The MagneTrace system can tell when
the drug has been taken using a tiny magnetic tracer that is included in solid medication. Using a necklace with a magnetic
sensor, the system can detect when the drug has passed through the esophagus based on the magnetic signature in the tracer.
The necklace sends a wireless signal to a smart phone, which time- and date-stamps the data and uploads it to a data repository.
If a drug isn't taken on time, the phone will sound an alarm to tell you to take it. Keep ignoring the treatment and an e-mail
will signal a family member or doctor.