Thursday, September 08, 2005

May I inhale that insulin now?

Today FDA advisory panel provided support in favour of Exubera , an inhalation based insulin for diabetes patients, which if approved would provide them with an alternative to the painful insulin injections.

If approved, the drug, known as Exubera, would represent the first major shift
away from needles and syringes for millions of diabetics who must take daily
injections to control glucose. The product works much like inhalers already
used
by asthma and allergy sufferers, by producing an insulin-powder cloud
inhaled
via a handheld plastic machine.

There are limitations of course.

While Exubera could result in far fewer injections for some patients, many
still will have to use needles, even if regulators approve it. The drug does not
replace longer-acting insulin, which many diabetics now inject. In addition,
patients who smoke will be excluded


and

several experts said they worried the drug's sponsors had not done enough to
prove it is safe in diabetics exposed to secondhand smoke or those with lung
diseases such as asthma or emphysema.


While the FDA panelists are mulling over this , drug safety trials are still in progress in Canada .

I do not know how far Ranbaxy et al in India are with inhaled-insulin drugs but I know my Great Uncle, who was here recently, would be grateful for it. He is in his early 70's and has had type 2 diabetes for decades. He remarked on having run out of veins to inject a long time ago. His veins in his arms and stomach are sore and ache with each injection now.
Sounded quite nasty.

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