New Ways to Manage Diabetes Are on the Horizon
The future may be needle-free for diabetics, reportedresearchers at the meeting of the American Diabetes Association(June 5, 2004). Innovations include no-needle testing andno-stick insulin. For example, developers at Abbott DiabetesCare believe that their new glucose monitor could be the first toreplace the finger-stick method. The device, the FreeStyle Navigator,uses a 3-day patch worn on the stomach or upper armthat transmits data wirelessly to a pager-like receiver that canbe kept in a pocket or purse. Abbott is awaiting approval fromthe FDA for use of the device by both children and adults.
Patients who dislike injections or oral medications to treattheir diabetes may prefer a fast-acting inhaled insulin that controlsblood sugar without harming the lungs. A 4-year study ofinhaled insulin found that lung function and control of bloodsugars were maintained. Pfizer and Aventis have developedExubera for patients with both major forms of diabetes. Exuberauses a special inhaler and powdered form of insulindeveloped by Nektar Therapeutics. The product has been submittedfor licensing in Europe but not yet in the United States.