Resistance to oral insulin for diabetes

Mon, 22 Jan 2007
Recent evidence from the United States indicates that resistance to the world’s first oral insulin is mounting. Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer created the inhalable insulin brand, Exubera, last year.

Industry analysts in the US, together with Pfizer themselves, predicted that diabetics would quickly take to the new method of delivering insulin, and the drug could rack up 2 billion dollars worth of sales . Acceptance of this type would lead to Exubera becoming a true blockbuster drug.

The treatment does have its virtues, particularly to those diabetics who find needles or the injection process discomforting. However, some doctors are concerned over the long-term side effects of insulin of this type on the lungs. Apparently, smokers and asthma patients should not take the drug.

Despite initial good results in clinical trials, the long-term affects of Exubera on the lungs are not yet transparent. Furthermore, the cost of the drug far exceeds that of standard insulin and is more than non-insulin diabetic medications.

In the UK, regulators have been hesitant to approve the drug for widespread use.
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