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Biotech Innovations
September 11, 2018

HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis “Smart Pill” in Early Testing

JAMA. 2018;320(10):965. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12335

Last November, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first “smart pill” that digitally tracks medication adherence: a sensor-equipped version of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole, marketed as Abilify MyCite. Now, a preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill for HIV prevention using the same sensor system from Proteus Digital Health is in development.

In July, researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), presented data on digital PrEP at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. The capsule contains a small ingestible sensor and the PrEP drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (Truvada). When the pill dissolves in the gastric tract, the encapsulated sensor undergoes electrolyte changes that generate a pulse detectable by a patch worn on the torso. Data from the patch are then uploaded via Bluetooth to a paired smartphone, from where they’re securely transmitted to a database that patients, as well physicians and others with permission, can access.