AiCure, a New York-based artificial intelligence company providing advanced facial recognition and motion-sensing technology to monitor medication ingestion, has announced the start of a major clinical trial to monitor and intervene with patients receiving medication as maintenance therapy for opioid addiction.
Fatal overdoses from prescription opiates have quadrupled in the last 15 years. Opioids now cause more deaths per year than heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines combined. Overall, the economic cost of opioid abuse is estimated to exceed $55 billion annually. Although adherence to therapy is associated with improved recovery, patients not taking their medication, taking it incorrectly or giving it or selling it to others—which happens frequently—impedes patients and health systems from fully benefiting from treatment.
AiCure has developed a novel platform that can work on any smartphone. Unlike FaceTime or Skype, where there is someone at the other end, in this case artificial intelligence automatically detects in real time whether the person is taking his or her medication as prescribed. Patients who take incorrect doses or do not use the software are automatically flagged for immediate follow-up.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has provided $1 million in funding to assess whether patients using the AiCure platform are more adherent and whether adoption of the system can improve treatment duration and reduce the risk of relapse. The large trial is being carried out with the Cincinnati Addiction Research Center (CinARC) at the University of Cincinnati. A total of 130 participants will be enrolled over the course of 12 months.
Preliminary results of the trial are expected by August 2015.