To improve long-term outcomes of therapies for chronic diseases, health promotion and lifestyle modifications are the most promising and sustainable strategies. In addition, advances in digital technologies provide new opportunities to address limitations of drug-based treatments, such as medication non-adherence, adverse effects, toxicity, drug resistance, drug shortages, affordability, and accessibility. Pharmaceutical drugs and biologics can be combined with digital health technologies, including mobile medical apps (digital therapeutics), which offer additional clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness. Promises of drug+digital combination therapies are recognized by pharmaceutical and digital health companies, opening opportunities for integrating pharmacotherapies with non-pharmacological interventions (metapharmacology). Herein we present unique features of digital health technologies which can deliver personalized self-care modalities such as breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, yoga, physical activity, adequate sleep, listening to preferred music, forgiveness and gratitude. Clinical studies reveal how aforementioned complimentary practices may support treatments of epilepsy, chronic pain, depression, cancer, and other chronic diseases. This article also describes how digital therapies delivering “medicinal” self-care and other non-pharmacological interventions can also be personalized by accounting for: 1) genetic risks for comorbidities, 2) adverse childhood experiences, 3) increased risks for viral infections such as seasonal influenza, or COVID-19, and 4) just-in-time stressful and traumatic circumstances. Development and implementation of personalized pharmacological-behavioral combination therapies (precision metapharmacology) require aligning priorities of key stakeholders including patients, research communities, healthcare industry, regulatory and funding agencies. In conclusion, digital technologies enable integration of pharmacotherapies with self-care, lifestyle interventions and patient empowerment, while concurrently advancing patient-centered care, integrative medicine and digital health ecosystems.
Frontiers | From Precision Metapharmacology to Patient Empowerment: Delivery of Self-Care Practices for Epilepsy, Pain, Depression and Cancer Using Digital Health Technologies | Pharmacology (frontiersin.org)