Medical News and Perspectives
September 14, 2005

Interest in Inhaled Insulin Grows

JAMA. 2005;294(10):1195-1196. doi:10.1001/jama.294.10.1195

San Diego—Is the era of insulin injections for patients with diabetes drawing to a close? Probably not, at least not yet. Even so, some researchers exploring alternative delivery systems believe that inhaled insulin is now on the fast track and could emerge as a viable, noninvasive avenue for administering insulin.

For more than 80 years, patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have relied on subcutaneous injections as the route for exogenous insulin administration. But inhaled intrapulmonary delivery of insulin appears to be a promising option and perhaps a way to maintain glycemic control without the need for injections before meals. Although inhaled insulin is not a new idea—it was first suggested in the 1920s—encouraging findings from recent studies, including phase 3 trials, captured considerable attention at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) 65th Scientific Sessions here in June. At a symposium on new insulins, Jay S. Skyler, MD, noted that at least one pulmonary insulin system is now under evaluation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and predicted that “inhaled insulin should meet regulatory requirements for approval.”

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