Pfizer Inc. is conducting a drug trial in which patients participate from their homes using computers and smartphones rather than visiting a clinic.

The company plans to compare the results to those obtained from a previous, traditional trial of the same drug. The study involves the company's overactive-bladder drug Detrol.

If successful, the methods used in the study might eventually be used to help drive down the high cost of bringing new medicines to market.

The Food and Drug Administration recently signed off on Pfizer's study, which is believed to be the first all-electronic, home-based study of a drug to receive agency approval.