Researchers develop digital pills to track opioid abuse

Researchers develop digital pills to track opioid abuse

The plight of opioid crisis continuous to be a major problem across the United States. In spite of the authorities taking innumerable steps to curb the menace, the crisis has emerged as a major public health issue or an epidemic in the U.S.

According to various studies, a large number people are suffering from opioid addiction. Some of the key populations affected by opioids are teenagers, women and older people. In the light of the growing menace of opioids, President Donald Trump has declared it as a nationwide public emergency.

Medically, opioid addiction is described as an addiction to pills and medicines that are generally prescribed by medical practitioners. Opioids are generally prescribed to patients suffering from chronic pain, aches and ailments. While there are authentic and medically approved opioids, many people use illicit drugs like heroin and morphine as illegal replacements.

Since opioids contain elements that ensure relief from pain and sleep, people, to attain euphoric effects and extreme levels of high, often misuse them. According to the latest statistics of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 2.1 million American adults aged 12 and above, suffered from opioid addiction in 2016.

Digital pills with ingestible tracking technology assists in management of opioid consumption

In an effort to curb the rising rate of opioid addiction, researchers at one Boston hospital have developed technology-enabled pills that detect and track the opioid use of a patient. The new capsules are equipped with ingestible tracking technology that sends messages to the user’s smartphone. As these high-tech pills move through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, they are able to track whether the patient is adhering to the dosage or abusing the drug.

Currently, about 125,000 deaths a year and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations are caused due to the nonadherence or abuse of opioids, estimated the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).The repercussions of opioid abuse inflict huge economic costs between $100 and $289 billion on an annual basis.

Technically, these gel capsules, which fit over regular pills, are easily dissolved by digestive acids in the stomach upon being swallowed. They are equipped to emit a radio signal that’s picked up by a small device worn around the neck. Once the reader detects the message sent from the pill, he or she forwards it to his or her physician’s smartphone via Bluetooth.

EtectRx, a Newberry-based company, is involved in the development process of these digital pills with a wireless sensor. The first pill equipped with a sensor was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November for Abilify.

Abilify is an antipsychotic drug used for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When paired with this medicine, these pills further require the patients to wear a patch on their torso while consuming their medicine.

According to the researchers,  tracking of the information related to how many pills a patient consumes will help doctors and experts understand his or her tendency toward opioids. As a result, they can intervene to avoid the development of an addiction to opioids. In addition, if already suffering from an addiction, such high-tech pills will enable appropriate medical care to patients.

Treatment – An ideal way to recovery

Abusing opioid is as harmful as abusing any other illicit drug. In fact, experts believe opioid addiction causes more harms than any other addiction as opioids contain dangerous chemicals that are used to treat a specific condition. Therefore, abuse of such chemicals results in permanent damages to both body and mind. As a result, one can witness lifetime harm. Since it is important to adhere to the prescribed dosage, one should not consume opioids without prescription or supervision of an expert.

The opioid crisis has reached its peak in the U.S due to a range of factors, such as easy availability, overwriting of prescriptions by doctors, sharing of the prescription and presuming opioids to be less harmful than other drugs.

If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction and searching for the rapid detox centers in California, contact the California Detox Helpline. It can connect you to the state-of-the-art centers in California that provide customized treatment according to each patient’s requirements. If you are looking for the details about the best rehab centers in California, you can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online for more information.

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