'Magnetic' pill could improve drug delivery

A new method for tracking swallowed pills could help to develop more efficient delivery of drugs, say researchers.

The real-time technique, developed by US researchers, can be used to assess forces oral pills undergo as they travel along the gastrointestinal tract.

Edith Mathiowitz and colleagues at Brown University, Rhode Island, gave a pill with magnetic components to human volunteers.

The position of the pill was tracked using magnetic sensors. Researchers used the data to calculate the gastric forces acting on the pill.

Prolonging the gastric residence time of certain pills has been shown to improve their therapeutic benefit, they noted.

Knowledge of the gastric forces exerted on pills could help design more efficient pills for therapeutic applications, they said.

Stephen Robinson

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PNAS Online 2010

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