Israeli firm Oramed has taken a step closer towards developing an insulin pill by successfully showing that the pill it’s developing is safe in people with type 2 diabetes.
The result is important as the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had set the safety test as a requirement before further tests for effectiveness, as well as for safety in patients with type 1 diabetes, could be run.
The insulin pill is currently in phase II of clinical trials, the stage in which the drug’s efficacy, the ability to produce its intended effect, is tested. The trial the drug has passed for safety also tested for efficacy, and whilst safety was the main issue in this particular study, the drug maker reported that the medication was effective in reducing blood glucose levels.
Whilst Oramed has shown safety of their insulin pill in people with type 2 diabetes, it is not a foregone conclusion that safety tests will be passed in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are wholly dependent on exogenous insulin (insulin taken from external sources) and therefore tend to be significantly more susceptible to hypoglycemia than people with type 2 diabetes.
The successful trial keeps Oramed slightly ahead of rival pharmaceutical firms, such as Novo Nordisk, that are also developing tablet forms of insulin. Oramed’s latest study shows promise but there is still a long way to go before oral insulin becomes a viable alternative to insulin injections, and this is likely to take at least several years.

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