May 21, 2003
New Pill Camera Can Be Maneuvered In Gut

Dr. Annette Fritscher-Ravens and colleagues at the University College London have successfully tested in humans a small swallowable gut camera that can be steered around in the gut.

Fritscher-Ravens and her colleagues say they have patented just such a method. Using technology very similar to that found in TV remotes or electronic car-keys, they attached tiny electrodes to the front and rear portions of the video capsule, along with a tiny antenna. Using a drive/reverse switch, they have been able to steer and propel the capsule through the gut, lingering wherever a lesion or other suspicious formation occurs

Passive camera pills known as capsule endoscopes are already available and in clinical and research use. But this new design allows doctors to tell the camera pill to move itself to areas of interest.

An existing passive capsule endoscope was recently used to discover greater side-effects from NSAIDs on the small intestine than had previously been reported.

The capsule endoscope, developed by Given Imaging, allows medical professionals to view the entire small intestine. The system uses a disposable miniature video camera contained in a capsule, which the patient swallows. The capsule passes through the digestive tract, transmitting color images, without interfering with the patient's normal activities. Capsule endoscopy diagnoses a range of diseases of the small intestine including Crohn's Disease, Celiac disease, benign and malignant tumors of the small intestine, vascular disorders, medication related small bowel injury and pediatric small bowel disorders.

The study enrolled 40 patients, with a mean age of 49.5, who had arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Twenty patients took NSAIDS daily for three months. Twenty patients took acetaminophen alone or nothing at all. All patients fasted overnight and underwent capsule endoscopy. The pylorus, the sphincter muscle that controls the lower opening of the stomach where it empties into the upper part of the small intestine, was marked on each video. Two investigators who were not told which therapy the participants received, reviewed each video beginning after the pylorus, where the small intestine starts.

Severe injury to the small bowel was seen in 23 percent of NSAID users compared to no severe injury in the controls. Severe damage was associated with high doses of indomethacin, naproxen, oxyprozocin and ibuprofen.

Given the widespread long term use of NSAIDs this is an important result. A repeat of this study with a larger variety of NSAIDs and more test subjects could provide useful guidance in NSAID selection.

Update: this latest finding using a camera capsule to see the effects of NSAIDs on the intestines should not be surprising in retrospect. A 1999 study on mice found NSAIDs might be contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease.

A question raised by these experiments is the possible role of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in promoting inflammatory bowel disease. In the researchers' mice, COX-2 inhibition by NSAIDs produced histologic changes reminiscent of human celiac disease. In view of the megaquantities of NSAIDs consumed worldwide, we'll need to delve more deeply into the full effects of COX-2 inhibition on immune homeostasis

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 May 21 12:43 PM  Biomedical

Rod Hammond said at September 28, 2003 7:09 PM:

Is this technology being marketed in the United States yet? How would a person get involved in the distribution of this device? I am very interested.


Rod Hammond

Clay Kuschak said at November 26, 2003 7:57 PM:


Is this "camera pill" being used in Canada and if so where, I would like to know the name of the medical institutions that are using this and people to contact?

Thank you

Clay Kuschak

Frances Peters said at March 18, 2004 12:51 PM:

interested in discussing product w/representative. Cincinnati Veteran's Administration, G.I. Lab. 513 475-6393

Randall Parker said at March 18, 2004 1:09 PM:

Here is the website for the passive one by Given Imaging.

Paul Catts said at July 15, 2004 11:21 AM:

Regarding the Pill Camera.

Are you able to help abolish the myth that mucoid plaque can sticks to the intestinal wall of some patients.

During your experience using the pill camera, do you see evidence of mucoid plaque or waste matter that sticks to the intestinal wall where it may stay for some time.

Also what is the price, and how long does one have to wait to have this test done ?

LeAnn Leach said at June 6, 2005 3:48 PM:

Im interested in having the procedure done. Have been plagued by horrible abdominal pain for some months now. Dr. wont listen

G Grantham said at October 27, 2005 8:05 AM:

I would like to know if there are any Hospitals or medical centres providing this facility in the UK or Ireland

Thank you Geoff

Jackie said at February 20, 2006 9:43 PM:

I would like to know what states in the US are using the camera pill if any.

Thanks Jackie

Joanne Foley said at March 13, 2007 4:38 PM:

I too would like to know if this technology (camera pill) is available in any hospitals or clinics in the Republic of Ireland (Eire)?

Many thanks Joanne

johanne said at November 7, 2007 5:02 PM:

i would like to know where this pill is available in canada as i have suffered with abdominal (severe)wich is getting worse each passing day.Ihave also lost 20 pounds over the summer as i have difficulty eating.thank you.Johanne

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