ID-Cap System uses tiny ingestible pill sensors to monitor patients

In the future, some commonly prescribed medication may have tiny trackers built into each capsule that monitor patients who take them. The technology is part of the ID-Cap system created by etectRx, a Florida company. The system has been submitted to the FDA for review and will undergo a 90-day study with Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Fenway Institute.

The ID-Cap System involves an ordinary pharmaceutical capsule with an ID-Tag inside, which is ingestible and designed to emit a radio frequency digital message at a very low power. This message, which originates from the sensor within the patient, is picked up by the ID-Cap Reader, a wearable that records the message as an 'ingestion event.'

This ingestion event simply means the patient took the pill; the information is delivered over Bluetooth to a system that doctors can monitor. The technology is designed to help health care providers keep tabs on their patients' discipline in taking prescribed medications, ensuring the treatment is going according to plan.

In an announcement this month, etectRx revealed that its ID-Cap System has been tapped for a study on adherence related to the drug TRUVADA, a pre-exposure prophylaxis. The nature of this particular medication makes it vitally important that recipients take their prescribed dosage daily.

The study is being funded by the company behind TRUVADA, Gilead Sciences, and is designed to gather info on medication adherence patterns among patients. Information gathered by the study may, in part, help experts determine ways to increase medication adherence rates. According to etectRx, it anticipates receiving FDA clearance for its ID-Cap System that allows for marketing later this year.