A treatment including inhaled insulin(Exubera) improves blood sugar levelsbetter than treatment consisting of diabetespills alone. Researchers conductedan open-label, 12-week, multicenter, randomizedstudy of 309 patients with type2 diabetes, aged 35 to 80, who were taking2 diabetes pills. The patients wererandomly switched to inhaled insulinalone, asked to add inhaled insulin totheir regimen of 2 pills, or remained ontheir regimen of 2 diabetes pills alone.With the recommended treatment bloodsugar goal at 7, these patients enteredthe study with blood sugar levels of 9.5to 9.6. Patients taking just the inhaledinsulin improved their blood sugar levelsby 1.4; patients taking just the 2 diabetespills improved their blood sugar levels by0.2; and patients taking the diabetes pillsplus the inhaled insulin improved theirblood sugar levels by 1.9. There were noincidences of treatment-related discontinuationsby any of the study's participants.The most common side effectswith inhaled insulin were hypoglycemiaand mild cough. According to lead investigatorJulio Rosenstock, MD, of theDallas Diabetes and Endocrine Center,"Exubera resulted in significant improvementsin blood sugar control, withmarked reductions in blood sugar levels,which is the ultimate objective for anypatient with diabetes."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.