The Pill 2.0

People take medication for all kinds of ailments. This is especially true for patients that suffer from chronic conditions like heart disease. The most significant inconvenience is remembering to take your medication at a set time every day. A study has revealed that more than 50 percent of people do not take their medication on time, putting themselves at risk.



To change this, scientists are trying to develop a solution that makes the whole ordeal much more convenient. The current solution they are working on is a pill that can sit in the stomach for prolonged periods and deliver the medication over time.

This form of treatment has already been tested successfully on pigs. What the tests also showed is that this sort of treatment is not only good for chronic patients, but it is also ideal for treating patients in third world countries. These pills might then be used for treating diseases like malaria which require long-term therapy to be cured successfully. The initial results of proof-of-concept testing have already been released back in 2016.

There were many significant hurdles that the scientists had to overcome to make the pill as effective as possible. One of the most significant issues was how to keep the capsule inside the stomach for prolonged periods. One of the main culprits is the stomach itself and its structure. The stomach is made up of powerful muscles which make sure that all the food makes its way into the small intestine. This is why conventional pills have a hard time staying around and releasing medication into the system. One way the scientists decided to try and combat this is to redesign how the pill behaves after being swallowed. The design they chose was to have the capsule open up into a star-like shape. This shape then prevents the pill from exiting the stomach and keeps the pill out of the small intestine.

The next hurdle they needed to overcome was how the medication is released into the system once it gets there. What they did is develop a specialized polymer coating. This coating then ensures that the right dose of medication is released into the system at a particular time, making sure the doses enter the system one by one and not all at once. When the pill releases the last dose, it starts breaking down and exits the stomach and enters the small intestine.

Further testing revealed that this particular type of therapy is ideal for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes as they do not get the chance to distress the patients, making the whole ordeal much more pleasant for the people suffering from these diseases.

Some diseases do not display any particular symptom and patients often forget they even have them. Then there are the ailments which affect people daily, and these are precisely the cases for which these pills are designed for.

Pills that have an extended or delayed release already exist on the market, the issue is that those tablets sometimes get forced out of the system even if all the medication has not been released. Currently, the only methods that can deliver the drug over an extended period are patches, implants, or intravenous delivery.

The biggest benefit of this study is that it gives a new solution to the problems of third world countries. Most of the initial research has been done on a drug called ivermectin which is used for long-term treatment of malaria. The drug was used on pigs, and it was successfully released in small doses over 10 days.

The technology is still in its infancy, but it shows a lot of promise, and human testing is next on the schedule.

Editor's Picks

There are very few people on this planet who enjoy their work more than Aner Banner. His friends often readily admit that Aner eats, sleeps, and breaths science 24 hours a day. He is always challenging old methods, proposing new ideas, and seeking to solve difficult problems. Aner spends most of the day imparting his wisdom to the young minds of a small elementary school. Thankfully he has also mastered the art of making science come alive for the future leaders of our nation. He is loved and well respected by students, parents, and faculty alike. His motto forever remains “never stop learning.

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