Inhaled human insulin treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Ann Intern Med. 2001 Feb 6;134(3):203-7. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-3-200102060-00011.


Background: Despite demonstrated benefits, intensive insulin therapy has not gained widespread clinical acceptance for several reasons: Multiple daily injections are inconvenient, adherence is a concern, and the time-activity profile may not mimic normal insulin secretion. As such, alternate means of administering insulin are being evaluated.

Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of pulmonary delivery of insulin in type 2 diabetic patients who require insulin.

Design: Randomized, open-label, 3-month study consisting of a screening visit, a 4-week baseline lead-in phase, and a 12-week treatment phase.

Setting: General clinical research center and outpatient research clinics.

Patients: 26 patients (16 men, 10 women) with type 2 diabetes (average age, 51.1 years; average duration of diabetes, 11.2 years).

Intervention: Patients received inhaled insulin before each meal plus a bedtime injection of ultralente insulin, performed home glucose monitoring, and had weekly adjustment of insulin dose; target level for preprandial plasma glucose was 5.55 to 8.88 mmol/L (100 to 160 mg/dL).

Measurements: Glycemic control (hemoglobin A(1c) level) obtained at baseline and monthly for 3 months. Pulmonary function tests were done at baseline and at the end of the study.

Results: Inhaled insulin treatment for 3 months significantly improved glycemic control compared with baseline: Mean hemoglobin A(1c) levels decreased by 0.0071 +/- 0.0072 (0.71% +/- 0.72%). Patients experienced an average of 0.83 mild to moderate hypoglycemic event per month; no severe events were recorded. Patients showed no significant weight gain or change in pulmonary function compared with baseline.

Conclusions: Pulmonary delivery of insulin in type 2 diabetic patients who require insulin improved glycemic control, was well tolerated, and demonstrated no adverse pulmonary effects. Larger-scale studies are ongoing to provide long-term efficacy and safety data.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / blood
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting