Hate Shots? Try a Magnetic Pill

Magnetic pill could eliminate need for shots in some cases

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Researchers at Brown University are getting closer to perfecting a "magnetic pill" that can be administered then tracked in the intestine to assure proper absorption into the bloodstream.

Most people would probably prefer their medicine to be administered by pill and not a needle. But a shot is more effective because it delivers medicine straight into the bloodstream, while pills stand a chance of not properly dissolving correctly or in the right area of the intestines.

This may be changing, however, with the creation of a new magnetic pill that can be held in place by external means. Brown University researchers have formed a gelatin capsule that houses a tiny magnet. This tiny internal magnet can then be harnessed with the use of an external magnet that can "sense the force between it and the pill." Doctors can then see where proper absorption will occur and keep the pill in place.

This experiment uses minimal magnetic force so that it is safe for the body. Senior author Edith Mathiowitz stresses the importantance of proper monitoring so that there is no damage to surrounding tissue. "If you apply a little more than necessary force, your pill will be pulled to the external magnet, and this is a problem," she says.

The Brown University team constructed their magnet with meticulous measurements and used the aid of computer control and feedback devices.

Upon testing the system in rats, the researchers were able to hold a pill in place for 12 hours with pressure at a small fraction of what could be potentially damaging (1/60th). The next steps involve using the system to administer medicine and then testing the efficiency of uptake of the desired medicine.

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Review Date: 
January 18, 2011
Last Updated:
January 19, 2011