The end of daily medication is on the horizon after scientists invented a pill which steadily releases drugs over two weeks. Experts are hopeful it could help people stick to inconvenient drugs regimes, particularly the elderly or those with dementia or mental health problems who struggle to remember to take their medicine. The capsule looks like a pill but when swallowed it opens up into a star shape so that it does not pass through the stomach. It then gradually releases the drug into the body over a fortnight before breaking up and passing out of the body.
So far it has been tested with the malaria drug ivermectin, but scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Tehcnology (MIT), Harvard and Imperial College are hopeful it could eventually be used for many drugs, including those to help diabetes, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
“Until now, oral drugs would almost never last for more than a day,” Professor Robert Langer, a member of MIR team that developed the pill in the US.
“This really opens the door to ultra-long-lasting oral systems, which could have an effect on all kinds of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or mental health disorders. There are a lot of exciting things this could someday enable.”…
After the capsule is swallowed, acid in the stomach dissolves the outer layer of the capsule, allowing the six arms to unfold. Once the star expands, it is large enough to stay in the stomach and resist the forces that would normally push an object further down the digestive tract. However, it is not large enough to cause any harmful blockage of the digestive tract.
Would you feel the star belly, my Sneetches?