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Could a pill replace insulin shots for diabetics?

Diabetes Screening
Posted at 1:50 PM, Sep 23, 2022

Diabetics may someday get a new option for their insulin. Researchers in Canada are developing insulin pills that work almost as fast as the shots many people use today.

“As far as daily life is concerned, instead of having to take shots, you just have a pill that you have to take and keep it under your tongue, so I think it will make their life much easier,” said Anubhav Pratap-Singh with the University of British Columbia.

The key breakthrough comes from how you take this pill. Insulin is used by the liver.

Previous pills had to be swallowed, meaning they traveled through the stomach, which took hours for the insulin to get to your liver.

The new pill will dissolve under your tongue or inside of your cheek. That way, it's absorbed by the membrane that works to get it to your liver faster.

“We earlier expected that taking buccally would be more similar to that of stomach, maybe slightly better than that,” Pratap-Singh said. “But we were very surprised that it was much more similar to insulin injection.”

While this technology is promising, it remains in its very early stages. Researchers hope to start testing on humans in the next two years.