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Star-shaped Pill Unfurls in Your Tummy

A new drug-delivery method is being studied, and as weird as it seems, may help people get a consistent flow of medicine without having to remember and take multiple pills. The pill shown on the left is swallowed, and then in the stomach it opens up into a star shape that cannot pass out of the stomach for several days. While it sits there, it releases a stream of drugs at a constant rate. When it is empty, it breaks down and is passed through the system.

In a new study published in Science Translational Medicine, the capsules were shown to work in Yorkshire pigs weighing between 77 and 100 pounds (pigs have a similar digestive system to humans). Tests showed that the capsule delivered doses of medication for up to 10 days. In current form, it’s ideal for the daily release of 20 to 50 milligrams of a given drug. More tests still need to be done to prove safety and efficacy, but if things continue to go well, clinical trials for humans may not be too far off.

Too bad they couldn't ask the pigs how it felt as it wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside. This may remind you of a space telescope or Mars lander that is hurled through space all folded up, then spreads out when it reaches its destination. Read more about the new pill at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Andrew M. Bellingerm et. al.)

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