Improving Adherence in Patients with Mental Health Disease

Contributed by: Phi Delta Chi

Bipolar disorder is a disease that is characterized by changes in mood, energy, activity, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  There are four categories of Bipolar Disorder; Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Cyclothymic Disorder, and other.   Patients with Bipolar Disorder experience periods of manic and depressive symptoms.  These symptoms can even mix of emotions such as feelings of hopelessness in depressive episodes or episodes of high energy and irritability in manic states.  Schizophrenia, another mental disorder, is a chronic and severe disease that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.  Schizophrenic patients can experience a wide variety of symptoms.  These symptoms can range from hallucinations, delusions, reduced feelings of pleasure, speaking, and trouble focusing and paying attention.

Abilify, otherwise known as Aripiprazole, is a medication that is indicated for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia.  Abilify is a second generation anti-psychotic. This class is defined by the ability to block serotonin release and increases dopamine levels in the neuronal synapse.  Patients who take Abilify have reported such side effects as nausea, vomiting, constipation, headaches, dizziness, uncontrollable body movements, anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and weight gain.  Abilify can increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.  It can also increase the risk of suicidal ideation in children, adolescents, and young adults.

The FDA has recently approved the release of the digital ingestion tracking system for Abilify.  The Abilify MyCite has an ingestible sensor within the pill that records the time at which the medication was taken.  The patient wears a patch that sends information from the sensor to a phone.  This information can be sent to the primary provider as well.  The information feedback from the Abilify MyCite could revolutionize the way both providers and patients understand their medications and increase compliance.

The Abilify MyCite has not provided information about patient compliance but this can be used to track drug ingestion in “real time” or during an emergency due to delayed detection.  The implied benefits of using the Abilify MyCite is that it should increase patient compliance.  Patients would be more compliant because providers would be able to see if the patient is taking their medications regularly.  By allowing providers the ability to see in real time the compliance and how the medications are being taken could help patients minimize side effects and allow the best individualized care for each patient.