Insulin is a hormone that our body uses to convert blood sugar into usable energy. Wouldn’t it be great for diabetics not to have to deal with insulin injections? Of course it would! Not only would it be more convenient, but also no more pain or risk of infection.
It is not just the unpleasantness that diabetic patients need to endure using injections that has researchers and clinical studies focused on developing an effective insulin pill, but also the fact that a common side effect to using insulin injections and inhalers is Hypoglycemia.
Thirty years ago, this concept seemed to be unattainable and an impossibility, but within the next few years it is very possible that insulin will be available in oral form.
Phase one of testing insulin capsules has been successfully completed and Phase two is schedule to begin in late 2013. Seeking FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is not far behind.
Clinical testing includes studies with a variety of doses, in addition to comparing the results of the insulin pill to insulin injections and also placebos
The development of an oral insulin alternative has not been easy, as the pill needs to pass through the stomachs acidic environment safely and unaffected, arriving at the correct locations to release the much needed insulin.
In the early stages of development, the pill was destroyed in the stomach, but a specialized coating has since been added to the pill, so that it can pass safely to the intestines to be used properly and effectively.
In the UK, it is estimated that over 700,000 individuals use insulin via injections (and possibly 4 times during a 24 hour period). There are close to 300 million individuals, worldwide, that are diabetic, and the numbers are growing at a staggering rate.
The director the Juvenile Diabetes (Research) Foundation has said that they are very interested in a safe, fast acting, and effective way to administer insulin. Oral administration is a dream come true, especially for children, the elderly and anyone that is afraid or squeamish when it comes to injections.
The United States government is funding a study that includes over 45 medical research centers/clinics. Individuals participating in the oral insulin studies need to take a capsule a day, or if swallowing a pill is difficult, they will be offering insulin crystals that can be dissolved in a liquid. During the study, each participant will be closely monitored for the development of diabetes. If you are looking for more information regarding this particular study, call 1-800-425-8361.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) is also keeping a close eye on the insulin pill and is funding this type of research.