A New Pill Could Make Insulin Injections a Thing of the Past

Oramed Pharmaceuticals is doing clinical research under the direction of the US FDA for an insulin pill that could change the rules for diabetes treatment.


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For most people, getting a flu shot or having blood drawn is one of the less-enjoyable experiences of life. While most of us only need to deal with needles a few times a year, if at all, millions of people around the world who rely on insulin to survive, have to get a daily shot. For them, having an alternative to a needle poke would make a huge difference.

Taking an Insulin pill instead of daily insulin injections for diabetics would be a major game-changer for the 425 million adults worldwide who have diabetes today.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli pharmaceutical company is trying to change the rules of the game for diabetes treatment and is currently trialing an insulin pill that would make injections a thing of the past.

“An oral pill for insulin will make it easier for the patients to take insulin," Samir Mitragotri, a professor of bioengineering and biologically inspired engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences told CNN.

“Our oral insulin is solving the drawbacks to injectable insulin, delivering it in a way that a needle could never replicate,” said Oramed CEO Nadav Kidron in a company press release in May 2018.

“Not only does oral insulin offer a more convenient alternative to needles, a therapy many patients are reluctant to begin, but 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.”

In the latest trial, 240 patients with type 2 diabetes (the new pill will also work on type 1) will take the oral pill for 90-days. Different groups in the study will follow different dosing regimens at varying times. The study was designed to show the pill's effectiveness at lowering glycated hemoglobin (a determinant of blood sugar) levels over three months. An earlier trial involved 180 patients taking the oral insulin over 28 days.

“This is our most important study to date,” Kidron said. “A year from now we will better know the potential of our drug to control and maintain blood glucose levels and will have further proof of the longer-term benefits of taking an oral pill versus an injection.”

The data from this study will be available in 2019 and if successful will advance the oral insulin into the final round of FDA studies needed for the drug to be approved.

This could be a big win and dramatically change the lives of people living with diabetes for the better.
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