Evolution of a Pulmonary Insulin Delivery System ( Exubera) for Patients With Diabetes

Priscilla A. Hollander, MD


March 05, 2007


Many patients with diabetes fail to meet recommended glycemic goals regardless of the recognition of optimal glycemic control as a key component for improving clinical outcomes and quality of life in patients with diabetes. Patient- and physician-related barriers to the adoption of insulin therapy include fear and anxiety about injecting insulin, concerns about side effects, and personal health beliefs in regard to the use of insulin. There is an unmet need for an alternative insulin therapy that provides optimal glycemic control, is well tolerated, and improves patient adherence. Of the several inhaled insulin devices that are in various stages of development, the Exubera (INH) formulation is the first to be approved for use in the United States and in Europe. Exubera is a novel, rapid-acting inhaled human insulin formulation that has been developed for prandial insulin use. Clinical studies have shown that INH consistently improves glycemic control, in combination with longer-acting subcutaneous (SC) insulin regimens in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or is used to supplement or replace oral antidiabetic therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes. INH has demonstrated long-term safety and tolerability, with a risk for hypoglycemia similar to that of SC insulin, and no clinically meaningful changes in pulmonary function have been noted with its use. Patients treated with INH in clinical studies reported high levels of satisfaction with treatment, and many patients with diabetes choose inhaled insulin when it is offered as a treatment option. Taken together, these findings suggest that INH represents an important new development in the treatment of diabetes that may improve glycemic control in many patients with diabetes.

Readers are encouraged to respond to the author at priscilh@baylorhealth.edu or to Paul Blumenthal, MD, Deputy Editor of MedGenMed, for the editor's eyes only or for possible publication via email: pblumen@stanford.edu


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