We all know, Diabetes is treated with insulin injections. These injections are the only way to deliver insulin and everybody knows these injections are painful. You might wonder, why has not an easier way to give insulin been developed yet? Why can’t you take insulin with your mouth? Here comes Oral Insulin to solve your problem.
How Oral Insulin Works?
Currently, you had to use a needle to inject the insulin into the fatty tissue beneath your skin. From there, the insulin travels to your bloodstream. It goes into general circulation throughout your body and then travels to your liver.
Oral insulin, on the other hand, would move through your digestive system. It would be absorbed into your bloodstream through your intestines. From your intestines, it would move into your portal vein, a blood vessel that connects to your liver. Then the insulin would move directly into your liver, where glucose (blood sugar) is stored.
What’s the problem?
Oral insulin has to go through your digestive system. As we know insulin is a protein and acids in your stomach break down oral insulin before it can get to your liver. That means it’s not effective by the time it reaches your liver.
Further, your body has trouble absorbing insulin from your intestines. The mucus layer in your intestines is thick. Due to this, only low levels of insulin pass through this lining and into your bloodstream.
You do not have to worry, scientists have a solution to this.
Future of Oral Insulin
This life-changing treatment is one step closer to reality. A pharmaceutical company Oramed has made it possible by their oral insulin pill. This pill has successfully moved through Phase 1 safety trials and several Phase 2 trials, confirming a statistically significant blood glucose lowering efficacy. This could bring the treatment to market within a few short years.
The big achievement was in creating a pH-sensitive capsule coating that protects the drug until it reaches the small intestine and also enhance the ability of the insulin to permeate the intestinal membrane.
Injection vs Pills
Delivering insulin in a pill form would revolutionize the treatment for millions of diabetes patients. Oral insulin offers a more convenient alternative to needles by removing the burden of injections and constant blood monitoring. It also provides a more efficient and safer platform for delivering insulin by mimicking the body’s natural process of insulin going directly to the liver rather than via the bloodstream.
Finally, It is far better to take Oral Insulin pills instead of those painful injections. This study could lead to final phase trials in 2019/20 before coming to markets. The next few years will certainly prove exciting for those suffering from diabetes.