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Inhaled Insulin Safe and Effective Alternative to Shots

Hemoglobin A1C levels similar after inhaled, subcutaneous insulin

TUESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled insulin is a safe and effective alternative to injections for pre-meal insulin administration, according to a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials published in the Nov. 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Anastassios G. Pittas, M.D., M.Sc., from Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues reviewed the literature for randomized, controlled trials testing the safety, efficacy and patient acceptability of inhaled insulin for treatment of non-pregnant adults with diabetes mellitus.

Hemoglobin A1C levels were slightly higher in the inhaled insulin group, but the number of patients achieving a level of less than 7 percent was similar to the subcutaneous insulin group. Efficacy compared to oral insulin varied based on oral insulin delivery regimen (fixed dose versus titration) but severe hypoglycemia was more likely to occur in the inhaled group compared with the oral group.

"Inhaled insulin offers an alternative non-invasive option for pre-meal insulin administration, with glycemic efficacy comparable to subcutaneous regular insulin and increased patient acceptability," the authors conclude. "This new insulin technology will need continued evaluation in long-term efficacy and safety trials."

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