For type 1 diabetics, the possibility of sending insulin into the body with having to break open a tiny spot on the skin with a needle will be something to look forward to since it will certainly eliminate the pain that needles bring.
It is not that there have not been any ways of sending insulin into the body without a needle. There have been some but none have been a commercial success so far.
We would expect pharmaceutical companies to create ways of sending insulin into the body without the use of needles but none has done so.
Non-invasive delivery of insulin is being developed but it looks like it may take some time before such needle-free methods become a success among diabetics.
Why are non-invasive devices for insulin delivery so slow in their development?
The slow development of non-invasive devices of insulin delivery is due to the ease with which insulin can be destroyed by the digestive juices should it be eaten or drunk.
Nevertheless, there can be other ways to replace traditional injections using the needle or the insulin pump.
For a short period of time, a nasal insulin known as Exubera was available. But, it was not popular among diabetics.
The equipment for delivering the insulin was similar to the bicycle pump which is stuck into your nose before some air-borne insulin is sent in.
Users found the device too big to take along with them and felt uncomfortable with its use. So, only diabetics who really had strong fears of the needle liked its use.
When the first inhaled insulin in the world was approved, it was considered a significant advance in diabetes treatment which started with the 1920sâ insulin discovery
This new treatment for diabetes did not find favor within the diabetes community and eventually, in the month of October, 2007, the company stopped selling its product because Exubera’s sales were far below expectation.
Exubera was advertised as a device which is user-friendly and was expected to be a desirable method of delivering insulin to the body for those type 2 diabetics who may need insulin therapy for the first time and fear the needle in the traditional method of injecting insulin. For type 1 diabetics, Exubera was supposed to do away with the need to inject insulin at meal times every day. Even then, these diabetics still have to get long-acting insulin by injection.
Comfort-in (Needle Free injection system) – Video Guide
Research on inhalation of insulin
Studies are still ongoing with the inhalation of insulin, known as Technosphere, in which type 2 diabetics use with their meals while there is another injected dose of insulin called glargine.
It is comparable to injected insulin used twice a day by type 2 diabetics.
Solid Dose Injector
The Glide Solid Dose Injector, or SDI, is a new technology which has been developed by the pharmaceutical company, Glide Pharma.
Compared to earlier injection methods, the glide is no so invasive and this results in less pain and worry since solid formulations will be injected.
This new technology has the potential to provide therapeutic choices for treatments which are already in existence. Lipoxen Pic. has agreed to develop a product for the treatment of diabetes to be used with Glide’s new technology for delivering Sulixen which is the long-acting insulin from Lipoxen.
A gel patch with insulin is being planned by a company in Australia which is working together with Harvard Medical School’s Joslin Diabetes Center. At the same time, a nasal spray containing insulin is being developed by a company in Japan with Tokyo’s Hoshi University.
Looks like there will be better alternatives to the traditional needle in the near future. When such alternatives materialize, the use of insulin pumps may not be preferable. With the market for insulin therapy getting bigger, the interest in such developments ought to increase.