Insulin Spray May Offer Alternative to Shots

Oralin May Help People With Diabetes Keep Blood Sugar Under Control

From the WebMD Archives

June 16, 2004 -- An experimental oral insulin spray may soon provide an alterative to insulin shots for people with type 2 diabetes to help them keep their blood sugar under control.

A new study shows taking Oralin insulin spray with a conventional diabetes medication significantly reduced blood sugar levels after eating a meal. Controlling blood sugar levels after meals can help delay or prevent the complications associated with diabetes.

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of the goals of treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the body becomes resistant to insulin's effect.

Insulin Spray Helps Control Blood Sugar

Researchers say many people with diabetes don't have their condition adequately under control because they are reluctant to inject insulin often enough to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Failure to control blood sugar levels can increase the risk of complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, loss of limb, heart attack, and stroke.

Rather than using a syringe and needle to deliver insulin to the body, Oralin uses a device that's similar to an asthma inhaler to deliver small bubbles of insulin through the mouth. The user takes a few puffs from the device and the insulin quickly enters the bloodstream.

In the study, researchers looked at how effective Oralin insulin spray was compared with Glucophage pills in controlling blood sugar levels after eating.

The study was presented this week at the Endocrine Society's 86th Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The study involved 29 people with type 2 diabetes who had been receiving Glucophage. Glucophage lowers blood sugar levels by sensitizing the body to insulin.

Participants received Glucophage and either Oralin spray or a placebo spray before drinking a liquid breakfast containing 360 calories.

The study showed that blood sugar levels were 40% lower two hours after the meal among those who had received Glucophage plus Oralin compared with patients who received Glucophage plus the placebo.

In addition, insulin levels rose higher and more rapidly among those who took Oralin.

Oralin has not been approved for use by the FDA and is currently under investigation in clinical trials.

The study was funded by Generex Biotechnology, which produces Oralin.

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SOURCES: The Endocrine Society's 86th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, June 16-19, 2004. News release, Endocrine Society.

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