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Time Release pill

Like millions of Americans, I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in my fingers. An excellent rheumatologist has prescribed various treatments with mixed results. RA tends to be most troublesome in the mornings. The medication that has eliminated morning pain and swelling is called Rayos. Rayos is mostly prednisone, a commonly used synthetic corticosteroid drug. What is unique about Rayos is the prednisone is a new form of time released drugs. You take it before going to bed, and it takes effect in the early morning, which is when you really need it.

Note: The cost, pricing model, reimbursement, Medicare coverage, and other aspects of Rayos are a disaster. I will write about that in a follow-up post. 

The need for time released drugs is much bigger than RA and swollen fingers. Medication adherence is a multi-hundreds of billions of dollars problem. When people, especially chronically ill patients, do not take their medications due to forgetting or other reasons, symptoms worsen and the cost of care rises. Skin patches or under-skin implants can help is some cases, but far from enough. 

A new medical breakthrough may become a long-needed solution. In part through funding by the Gates Foundation, researchers have developed a new form of medication. After swallowing a single dose, the time released drugs expand to a star shape, which slows progression to the small intestines. The result is the medication is delivered over a period of up to ten days. The expandable pill has been tested on pigs with good results. The researchers are seeking FDA approval to begin testing with humans this year. The potential to enhance treatment for  a range of medical problems including hypertension, diabetes, neurological disorders, and opioid use disorder, among others is very significant.

Read more about this at Pop-up pill could stay in stomach to release drugs for days and read about other technological solutions for drug adherence in Health Attitude.

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