A UCLA-led study found that the ingestible sensor could help people with HIV stick to a medication regimen.

A UCLA-led study found that the ingestible sensor could help people with HIV stick to a medication regimen.

For people with HIV, sticking to the prescribed medication regimen is an important part of staying healthy. However, having to deal with the side effects caused by these medications — including nausea and dizziness — can lead people to skip doses.

Now, a UCLA-led study of 130 people living with HIV suggests that a small piece of technology could play a huge role in encouraging people to take their medication on time.

The search was led by Hong Liu, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Population at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry. Scientists have assessed whether people were more likely to remain aware of antiretroviral drugs if they used an ingestible electronic sensor system — a small chip inside a pill capsule that sends data wirelessly to a server as well as reminders to their cell phones.

Results published today In The Lancet Ebiomedicine, he revealed that after 28 weeks — 16 weeks of sensor data collection followed by 12 weeks of continuous monitoring — people who used the ingestible sensor had higher plasma drug concentrations in their bodies than those in the control group who didn’t use the technology.

Courtesy of Honghu Liu

Hong Liu

Additionally, people who used the technology had significantly lower viral loads than the control group; And 90% of those who used the sensors said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the system.

“Swallowable sensor technology is the most accurate IT-based method for measuring, monitoring and enhancing adherence behavior,” said Liu, who also holds faculty appointments at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “Maintaining an HIV drug regimen is critical not only to reduce the viral load but also to reduce the risk of developing potentially drug-resistant strains.”

The research was funded by A A $4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, and co-principal investigator Liu Hu Dr. Eric there From the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

For the study, half of the participants received an FDA-approved ingestible sensor system, while the other half simply reported whether they were sticking to their medication regimens. search was cRecruited between 2018 and 2020, participants were recruited from HIV clinics in Southern California.

The small sensor is activated when the user swallows it; It is embedded in the stomach lining and synchronized with a battery-operated patch that is worn over a person’s torso. when taking a dose of the drug, The system sends a signal via Bluetooth to the user’s mobile device, which in turn sends an encrypted message to a central server that can be monitored by healthcare professionals.

If the sensor realizes that a person has not taken their medication more than an hour after the recommended time, the system sends an encrypted text message for patient privacy — “it’s time to eat pizza” for example — as a reminder.

“while studying , Participants often expressed that swallow sensor system Provide them with the additional information and support they need to successfully control their HIV infection,” Dar said.

The study is timely in part because people who have successfully suppressed the amount of HIV in their blood to undetectable levels are now eligible for long-acting injectable HIV treatment – a drug taken once every four or eight weeks, Instead of taking it daily as a pill. Antiretrovirals. This drug was approved in January 2021 by the Food and Drug Administration. Liu said the availability of the long-acting drug could provide an additional incentive for people living with HIV to stick to their treatment plans.

Liu’s research aligns with a long-term commitment by the UCLA Department of Dentistry Persons infected with HIV/AIDS. Dentists in the school’s public dental clinic see about 700 people with HIV/AIDS, for approximately 8,000 visits annually.

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