For many years, scientists have tried, and failed to create oral insulin to help patients with type 2 diabetes. The failure stems from the fact that insulin and GLP-1 are protein molecules, and if taken orally, they would be attacked by digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to their breakdown. This is detrimental to the goal of these proteins, whose job it is to help convert glucose into energy. If the proteins did end up surviving, they would still have trouble passing through the wall of the intestine and entering the bloodstream.
The problems did not end there. If scientists were to create and doctors were to prescribe the oral insulin, they would have to make sure it was not only created in the right amounts, but that it would stay in the blood for the right amount of time.
While questions still remain about oral insulin, a company called Oramed recently announced a positive test relating to the safety and efficacy of its oral insulin pill. A double blind study of 180 adult type 2 patients who took the capsule showed a significant reduction, around 6.5%, of weighted night-time glucose. Additionally, the study showed that the drug had a good safety profile with no adverse side effects.
Soon, more patients may look to oral insulin as an alternative to injectable insulin. Oral therapy can begin earlier, and patients do not have to spend time with a doctor learning how to properly inject the insulin.
Oramed Oral Insulin Delivery Process
Oral vs. Injectable Insulin
As oral insulin is still in development, type 2 diabetes patients still must use the injectable version of insulin. Many patients take the popular diabetes medication, Novolog, which can be injected into muscle tissue (your thighs, upper arm, stomach or buttocks) or administered by a doctor or other health professional. There are several ways a type 2 diabetes patient can inject Novolog and other injectable insulin medications. These methods of delivery include: specialty injection pens, cartridges, vials and other supplies that may be needed to help with the administration of the drug.
While oral insulin delivery may be easier for patients, injectable insulin still reigns when it comes to overall effectiveness. Most meals only raise blood sugar levels for two to three hours after eating, but Novolog can stay in the body for six to eight hours, so that safe blood sugar levels are maintained after the meal has stopped raising glucose levels. The medicine also only takes about thirty minutes to start working, with a peak effectiveness of two to four hours.
There are some side effects of injectable insulin, including itchiness at the site of the injection, weight gain, and other symptoms like hypoglycemia that may require a hospital stay.
Be sure to check with your doctor and see what type of insulin you should take to help with the symptoms of your type 2 diabetes.