An oral prosthetic device affixed or implanted in the mouth is under study by European and Israeli researchers as a convenient and reliable way to treat chronic illnesses and drug addiction. Called the IntelliDrug device, it fits into artificial molars that look like natural teeth. Holding enough of a prescribed drug to last for days to months, the device is programmed to dispense doses into the back of the mouth, where the drug is swallowed or absorbed by oral mucosa. Because IntelliDrug operates automatically, it could help patients who have trouble remembering to take medications and those who need medication while they sleep. Researchers say it may also maintain more stable serum drug levels than other delivery methods.
The device has some drawbacks. For example, it must be refilled and serviced regularly and some drugs aren't compatible with it. Researchers hope to have the device on the market next year.