Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 439–444 | Cite as

Utilizing an Ingestible Biosensor to Assess Real-Time Medication Adherence

  • Peter R. Chai
  • Jose Castillo-Mancilla
  • Eric Buffkin
  • Chad Darling
  • Rochelle K. Rosen
  • Keith J. Horvath
  • Edwin D. Boudreaux
  • Gregory K. Robbins
  • Patricia L. Hibberd
  • Edward W. Boyer
Preliminary Research


Medication adherence monitoring has relied largely on indirect measures of pill ingestion including patient self-report, pharmacy refills, electronically triggered pill bottles, and pill counts. Our objective is to describe an ingestible biosensor system comprising a radio-frequency identification (RFID)-tagged gelatin capsule. Once the capsule dissolves in the stomach, the RFID tag activates to transmit a unique signal to a relay device which transmits a time-stamped message to a cloud-based server that functions as a direct measure of medication adherence. We describe a constellation of mobile technologies that provide real-time direct measures of medication adherence. Optimizing connectivity, relay design, and interactivity with users are important in obtaining maximal acceptability. Potential concerns including gut retention of metallic components of the ingestible biosensor and drug dissolution within a gelatin capsule should be considered. An ingestible biosensor incorporated into a medication management system has the potential to improve medication compliance with real-time monitoring of ingestion and prompt early behavioral intervention. Integration of ingestible biosensors for multiple disease states may provide toxicologists with salient data early in the care of poisoned patients in the future. Further research on device design and interventions to improve adherence is needed and will shape the evolving world of medication adherence.


Medication adherence Antiretroviral therapy Biosensors HAART 



Dr. J. Castillo-Mancilla is supported by the National Institutes of Health 5K23AI104315-02. Dr. C. Darling is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 5K23HL101991-05. Dr. K. Horvath is supported by the National Institutes of Health 5R34DA033833-04 and 1R34MH105202-01. Dr. P. Hibberd is supported by the National Institutes of Health 5K24AT003683-09. Dr. E. W. Boyer is supported by the National Institutes of Health 1K24DA037109.


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Copyright information

© American College of Medical Toxicology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Chai
    • 1
  • Jose Castillo-Mancilla
    • 5
  • Eric Buffkin
    • 2
  • Chad Darling
    • 3
  • Rochelle K. Rosen
    • 8
  • Keith J. Horvath
    • 9
  • Edwin D. Boudreaux
    • 4
  • Gregory K. Robbins
    • 6
  • Patricia L. Hibberd
    • 7
  • Edward W. Boyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.eTect BIONewberryUSA
  3. 3.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and Quantitative Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  5. 5.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineUniversity of Colorado-Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  6. 6.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  7. 7.Division of Global Health, Department of PediatricsMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  8. 8.Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Department of Behavioral and Social SciencesBrown University Providence, RI, The Miriam HospitalProvidenceUSA
  9. 9.Division of Epidemiology and Community HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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