Conference Coverage

Noninjectable modes of insulin delivery coming of age



Oral GLP-1 receptor agonists

Oral versions of glucagonlike peptide–1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are also emerging as a treatment option. The FDA recently approved the first oral GLP-1 receptor agonist, semaglutide bound in the absorption enhancer sodium N‐(8‐[2‐hydroxybenzoyl] amino) caprylate (SNAC). According to data from manufacturer Novo Nordisk, SNAC facilitates local increase of pH, which leads to a higher solubility. SNAC interacts with cell membranes of gastric mucosa, facilitating absorption within 30 minutes, “so the drug can penetrate the mucosa without lasting damage,” Dr. Grunberger said. The SNAC effect is size dependent and fully reversible.

In PIONEER 3, researchers found that, in adults with type 2 diabetes uncontrolled with metformin with or without sulfonylurea, oral semaglutide at dosages of 7 and 14 mg/day resulted in significantly greater reductions in HbA1c over 26 weeks, compared with sitagliptin, but there was no significant benefit with the 3-mg/d dosage (JAMA. 2019;321[15]:1466-80). In PIONEER 4, researchers compared the efficacy and safety of oral semaglutide with subcutaneous liraglutide (Lancet. 2019;394[10192]:P39-50). “There was no difference in HbA1c effect between the two groups, but oral semaglutide beat out sitagliptin in terms of weight loss,” Dr. Grunberger said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen in the marketplace as the drug gets widely launched.”

Nasal glucagon

He closed out his presentation by discussing the July 2019 FDA approval of Eli Lilly’s nasal glucagon for severe hypoglycemia – the first such treatment that can be administered without an injection. The nasally administered dry powder, known as Baqsimi, is a welcome alternative to current glucagon kits, “which contain multiple components,” said Dr. Grunberger, who is also a past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. An adult pivotal study showed that supraphysiologic levels of glucagon were achieved within 5 minutes with both nasal and intramuscular glucagon (Diabetes Care. 2016;39[2]:264-70). Headache and nasal symptoms occurred more frequently with nasal glucagon, but most were resolved within 1 day. In addition, nausea and vomiting occurred at similar frequencies with nasal and intramuscular glucacon, and most cases were resolved within 1 day.

Similar results were observed in a pediatric study of 48 patients with type 1 diabetes who were older than 4 years, (Diabetes Care. 2016;39[4]:555-62).

Dr. Grunberger disclosed that has research contracts with Medtronic and Eli Lilly, and that he serves on speakers bureaus of Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi.


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