Insulin overdose

An insulin pill has shown positive results in terms of been well tolerated by patients with type 1 diabetes.

The insulin pill, currently referred to as ORMD-0801, is being developed by Jerusalem based Oramed Inc. The phase 2a trials involved 25 patients with type 1 diabetes and the primary aim of the study was to show whether the pill is safe to be tested in larger groups of patients.

Reductions in blood glucose

With good safety results, the insulin pill can now be tested more vigorously for its blood glucose lowering properties. Whilst the study that has just been completed could not demonstrate the pill’s ability to reduce blood glucose with statistical significance, it was able to show promise.

On the trial, the people with type 1 diabetes were taking insulin by injection, in addition to the insulin capsules. The blood glucose lowering properties of the pills were shown by the fact that insulin injection doses had to be decreased and some patients experienced hypos following meals. The trial participants wore continuous glucose monitors to record data as well as to help prevent severe hypos developing.

Insulin pill challenges

Development of an insulin pill has proved to be a very difficult affair. If insulin is given in a standard capsule, the body’s digestive system breaks it down before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The challenge has therefore been to deliver the dose in a way that successfully protects the insulin from being broken down.

Oramed is one of a select number of companies, which also include Novo Nordisk, that are developing insulin delivery products in capsule form. The next stage of the clinical trials process, for Oramed, will be to test the blood glucose lowering effectiveness of the pill patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Whilst the recently completed trial shows promise, the next trials will give a better idea of whether Oramed’s insulin capsules will be able to successfully reduce or replace injections of insulin.