In a bold move that could revolutionize how we approach substance use disorders (SUD), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved the marketing of a mobile medical app called reSET. The reSET sobriety app is the first of its kind.

About the reSET App

The reSET app was developed by U.S.-based Pear Therapeutics, a prescription digital therapeutics company. The FDA press release states that reSET is “intended to be used with outpatient therapy to treat alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and stimulant SUDs […] and uses a series of incentives to reward patients for adherence to their treatment program.”

reSET contains a “patient application and clinician dashboard.” Cognitive behavioral therapy is delivered to the patient and teaches skills to aid SUD treatment. The intention is to increase substance abuse abstinence and increase outpatient therapy retention.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that SUDs occur “when an individual’s recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home.”

Before approval for marketing reSET, the FDA held a clinical trial. Approximately 400 individuals with SUD were placed in a 12-week therapy program and randomly assigned to receive standard counseling therapy. Participants who received reSET (then called Therapeutic Education System) along with their therapy reported a 40% higher rate of abstinence, compared to 18% for those assigned solely to standard therapy.

Future Sobriety App for Opioid Addiction

The FDA made clear in its announcement that reSET is “not intended to be used to treat opioid dependence.” However, in July 2017, the National Institute of Drug Abuse awarded a $180,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to Pear Therapeutics to help develop reSET-O, for assistance with opioid addiction therapy.

The reSET sobriety app is not yet available. Always speak with a medical expert and proceed with caution before embarking upon any program for substance use disorder.