When you think of inhaled medicine, you often think of treatments for asthma, COPD and other conditions in the lungs and airways. Today, there is a growing interest in inhalation as a route of administration for other therapeutic areas well. This is because many drugs are easily and rapidly taken up from the outside of the thin mucosa in the alveoli in our lungs, to our blood.
Drug developers consider inhalation as a route of administration because of both practical and medical advantages.
Vaccines, for instance, can be given as inhalation instead of injection. Inhaled vaccine will activate immune cells in the mucosal tissue, which will act more quickly than the immune response after an intramuscular injection.
Insulin taken by inhalers enter the bloodstream without delay. The effect will be immediate, thus avoiding glucose to potentially damage the small blood vessels. And after the administration, the insulin will not remain in the subcutaneous fat for prolonged periods, thus avoiding risk for unnecessary low blood glucose levels. When compared subcutaneous injections, inhaled insulin had:
- faster onset
- shorter duration, and
- a need for higher dose.
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Insulin delivered with inhaler – the case strengthens