Diabetes Update

Report From The National ADA Meeting 2003
Medical Author: Ruchi Mathur, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

I have just returned from the American Diabetes Association's 63rd scientific sessions held in New Orleans this year. Aside from being slightly confused over the awe of Bourbon Street, I found certain parts of the meeting quite informative. I'd like to share with you a few particularly interesting updates regarding, therapies, interventions, and tools for the management of diabetes.

I. Inhaled Insulin

Aventis and Pfizer are currently in the process of developing an inhaled form of insulin. The brand name is Exubera, and it is a fast acting (rapid acting) insulin. Currently this form of insulin is in Phase III trials (human trials) in the U.S. Clinical studies have thus far demonstrated that the drug is effective, and easy to use. It is administered in a similar fashion as the typical asthma medications people inhale, with some alterations in the delivery device. The major concerns over the long term use of inhaled insulin is its effects on the lungs, and their function. Studies looking at lung function testing are currently underway. Other things to remember about inhaled insulin is that it is a short acting preparation, so a longer acting (basal) insulin would still have to be given in the form of an injection and blood glucose monitoring is still needed multiple times a day. In addition to inhaled insulin, there is research in progress on oral insulin. However, inhaled insulin appears more promising.

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