Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Pills That Rat You Out for Not Taking Your Meds

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 35 comments

Researchers have developed a special type of pill that can notify doctors if a patient is not taking his or her medication.

The fine people at the University of Florida have developed a type of pill that can notify a doctor or family member when a patient has taken his or her medicine. Dubbed 'tattletale pills,' the new type of pill is comprised of two parts. The first is a pill capsule coated with a label embossed with silvery lines. These lines are the antenna and are printed using ink made of nontoxic, conductive silver nanoparticles. The pill also contains a tiny microchip, one about the size of a period.

The second part is an electronic device carried or worn by the patient, which doctors are hoping can someday be incorporated into cell phones or watches. This device is responsible for powering the antenna and chip inside the pill and confirming to doctors that the pill has been ingested. The device sends power to the pill via bursts of extremely low voltage electricity. These bursts energize the microchip to send signals relayed via the antenna. The device then sends a message to a doctor or carer's laptop or cell phone, confirming that the pill has been taken. Eventually, the patient's stomach acid breaks down the antenna and the microchip is passes through the gastrointestinal tract.

The University of Florida cites the American Heart Association as saying the failure to follow prescription regimens is “the number one problem in treating illness today.” The AHA says 10 percent of hospital admissions result from patients not following the guidelines on their prescriptions and refers to studies that say patients with chronic diseases usually only take about half their prescribed medications. Other studies found that not taking medication properly results in 218,000 deaths annually.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    tsnorquist , April 1, 2010 1:37 PM
    So we've come to the point as a society where people must take a pill to notify other people - other pills were not taken.

    How about we let nature take its course and invest time & resources into something broader.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    tsnorquist , April 1, 2010 1:37 PM
    So we've come to the point as a society where people must take a pill to notify other people - other pills were not taken.

    How about we let nature take its course and invest time & resources into something broader.
  • 2 Hide
    Katriel , April 1, 2010 1:38 PM
    Okay, admittedly these are pretty cool. I'm excited it might save some of those '218,000' deaths. (How many of those deaths are intentional to OD though?) But I have a few reservations. 1) Microchips get expensive. Add that cost to the initial cost of the pills...and Americans start paying even more for healthcare. 2)We already have so much external monitoring in out society. We need to build the internal more.

    Of course, those aside, this is a pretty interesting article! It's kind of cool to see how technology develops. Used sparingly on the right patients, this just might help a good number of patients.
  • Display all 35 comments.
  • 6 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , April 1, 2010 1:42 PM
    How about just putting the pill in some vinegar? ;)  Or bleach, which ever is the right PH...
  • 5 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , April 1, 2010 1:43 PM
    Yea, and that guy looks THRILLED to have to take that damn thing.
  • 4 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 1, 2010 1:48 PM
    tsnorquistSo we've come to the point as a society where people must take a pill to notify other people - other pills were not taken.How about we let nature take its course and invest time & resources into something broader.


    Lots of pills these days are digestible capsules filled with powdered meds. Though they're calling these "tattletale pills" they describe them as capsules so I'm assuming the idea is that they put regular meds/pills into the special antenna capsules.

    mlopinto2k1Yea, and that guy looks THRILLED to have to take that damn thing.


    He's a researcher at the University of Florida. Think he was part of the team that developed it.
  • 3 Hide
    Katriel , April 1, 2010 1:50 PM
    I agree Rab1d-BDGR on the patients who may attempt suicide, but who would OD on medication they knew has tiny capsules in it? And mlopinto2k1, I agree with you too. How would doctors know you didn't just dissolve the pill...or give it to someone else? It would have to be given to the forgetful. It would not work for those trying to sidestep their meds.
  • -4 Hide
    xybercoke , April 1, 2010 1:53 PM
    You guys realize this is a april fools joke right?
  • 0 Hide
    blazeorangeman , April 1, 2010 1:53 PM
    Better to swallow it then to get it in reverse, if you know what I mean.
  • 0 Hide
    gilbertfh , April 1, 2010 1:53 PM
    Just admit me... I am not voluntarily going to let somebody track me like this. I am an adult and will be treated as such. The only time I can see this being a valid method is if it is court ordered for a person that has stability issues and must take medication to regulate or they are a danger to society. Otherwise if we don't take our meds then it is on us.
  • 0 Hide
    Katriel , April 1, 2010 1:54 PM
    xybercoke, it could be a joke...but there's been many developments similar to this. *shrug*
  • 0 Hide
    gilbertfh , April 1, 2010 1:55 PM
    blazeorangemanBetter to swallow it then to get it in reverse, if you know what I mean.

    It very well could be but the technology is out there to do just as this article suggests.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , April 1, 2010 1:58 PM
    why do you guys have such a large building to work out of. i work out of my step mom's basement and i own three tribes 2 512-bit encrypted servers running simultaneously. FAIL, TOM. FAIL!
  • 5 Hide
    tapnick , April 1, 2010 2:03 PM
    lol, they need to make these for Birth Control so a guy can tell if his girl is taking it :) 
  • 0 Hide
    sceen311 , April 1, 2010 2:15 PM
    I'm guessing april fools
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 1, 2010 2:16 PM
    You are a danger to society for not taking your soylent green soma anti-belligerence medication. You are hereby prohibited from using public facilities, such as roads, internet access, and electricity. Your license plate is tracked at every stoplight and you will be arrested for crimes against society if you are found using these facilities while under the influence of free will. Individuals who harm society must be re-educated.
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , April 1, 2010 2:21 PM
    sleep, healthy diet and exercise, is all we need not nano pills
  • 1 Hide
    Scotteq , April 1, 2010 2:25 PM



    yeahhh....
  • 0 Hide
    counselmancl , April 1, 2010 2:26 PM
    This is dumb.
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , April 1, 2010 2:29 PM
    "The pill also contains a tiny microchip, one about the size of a period."

    What kind of a "period"?

    LOL
  • 0 Hide
    masop , April 1, 2010 2:40 PM
    This is not an april fools joke. Just check out the link in the article for the university of florida web site. The actual article was published march 31st. It's legit. :-)
Display more comments
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter