Pills That Rat You Out for Not Taking Your Meds

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.

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  • 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.
    10
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  • 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.
    10
  • 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.
    2
  • How about just putting the pill in some vinegar? ;) Or bleach, which ever is the right PH...
    6