A computerized pill box that patients can keep at home to dole out their drugs on schedule and in the correct doses received federal approval Thursday.
The Electronic Medication Management Assistant, or EMMA, is for home use but only under the supervision of a healthcare provider, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The device can be programmed to dispense individual doses of up to a month's worth of 10 different drugs, according to its manufacturer, INRange Systems. The Web-connected medication box allows pharmacists, doctors and nurses to tweak both the dosing schedules and dosages of drugs loaded into the device in special blister cards. The company-described "electronic nurse" alerts patients when it's time to take a drug with visual and audible alerts.
The breadbox-sized device may reduce drug identification and dosing errors, the FDA said. Expected users include aging and forgetful patients, as well as those with HIV who must adhere to complex treatment regimens.
The Altoona, Pa.-based company said EMMA would be available in early 2008.