New Pill Can Sit in the Stomach for Days or Even Weeks

You could take a week's worth of medicine in one gulp thanks to work being done by MIT and hospital researchers.

For folks with chronic conditions, taking a pill is often part of the daily routine, but it’s sometimes easy to forget given the chaos of life.

Researchers at MIT and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital believe they’ve come up with a solution: A new pill that can sit inside the stomach and deliver medication for an extended period of time.

Different than existing extended release or delayed release tablets, which are forced out of the stomach by day’s end, this capsule transforms into a star formation, allowing it to escape the body’s natural inclination to move things through the system. Typically, what’s in the stomach immediately gets passed to the small intestine and eventually is evacuated through defecation. While the new device’s unique shape makes sure the medication stays put for days or even weeks, and a special polymer coating is responsible for releasing pre-determined doses into the body, making the approach useful for treatments for high blood pressure or diabetes.

The proof-of-concept device, only now being tested in pigs, was partially funded by the Gates Foundation as part of an initiative to find ways to better combat malaria. The foundation, and the researchers, see potential for the new drug delivery method to help combat conditions that require long-term therapies in third-world countries.

I think given time, this will be a pill worth swallowing.

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