In a clinical study, done at Dallas Diabetes and Endocrine Center researchers assessed the effects of oral insulin on type 2 diabetes patients. They found that the treatment with inhaled insulin or exenatide (an injectable drug) provide better blood sugar control.
In the study, 309 patients are enrolled and oral insulin is either added or substituted to their standard oral medication regime. Afterwards these patients are followed for 12 weeks. Compared with continued oral therapy alone, a significant improvement in sugar control was achieved by substituting or adding inhaled insulin therapy.
Inhaled insulin therapy was more likely than oral therapy alone to produce excessively low sugar levels. However, the treatment with oral insulin was also associated with mild weight gain and mild cough.
In another study, the researchers based at Netherlands compared the sugar lowering effects of exenatide and insulin glargine in 551 patients of type 2 diabetes who had poor sugar control with oral medications. These patients are followed for 26 weeks.
This study results indicated that exenatide and insulin glargine provides better sugar control as compared to oral medicines. Treatment with exenatide showed a reduction in body weight by 5 lbs. whereas insulin glargine was linked to 4 lbs. of weight gain. Other side effects of these therapies are mainly of gastrointestinal nature (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). These side effects were more common with exenatide than insulin glargine.
These two study results suggest that these newer therapies can help a lot in managing the later stages of type 2 diabetes. Besides this, the exenatide therapy can provide better blood sugar control without concomitant weight gain. The oral insulin therapy can be used for the patients who dislike the prospect of injections.