A new clinical study concluded that a nasal spray may save diabetics’ lives. The spray can be used for diabetics who are nauseous or unconscious due to alarmingly low levels of blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
The nasal spray is so effective because it contains glucagon, a hormone which increases the levels of blood sugar very fast.
In this moment the only option available for severe cases of hypoglycemia is the glucagon powder, which needs to be mixed with water and injected into the muscle. But the trial showed that the nasal spray is almost as effective as this shot.
Dr George Grunberger, professor at the School of medicine from the Wayne State University in Detroit and the president of American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, who was not involved in the study argues that the nasal spray could become the future of treating severe hypoglycemia, considering its effectiveness and easiness of administration.
According to Grundenberg, researchers have been trying for many years to give people something like this.
Sometimes people on insulin may inject too much of the substance, which makes their blood levels to decrease suddenly. While some of the cases can be treated with orange juice or a hard candy, the severe cases require glucagon.
Unfortunately, the glucagon available on the market needs the patients to have it with them, mix it with water and inject it into the muscle. Since often the person who needs it is unconscious, another person has to be there to do all these.
The nasal spray is more viable since either the patient or somebody else can easily shoot it up the patient’s nose. The glucagon is absorbed into blood through the mucous membranes.
To test the effectiveness of the nasal spray, scientists recruited 75 volunteers with type 1 diabetes to induce each of them hypoglycemia twice during the trial. One of the times they received the glucagon injection and the other time they were treated with the nasal spray.
While the injection was effective in all the cases, the nasal spray has failed one time, making it 99 percent effective. It also took longer for the spray to increase the levels of blood sugar – an average of 16 minutes, compared to 13 for the injection.
On the other side, while the injection took from 1.9 to 2.4 minutes to administer, the nasal spray has only took from 16 to 26 seconds.
However, the study has limitations. First of all, the average age of the participants, of 33 years, is much younger than the age when most of the patients are at the highest risk of hypoglycemia. Then, the researchers haven’t been able to determine whether the 3-minutes delay of the nasal spray is clinically significant.
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