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Int J Pharm Investig. 2016 Jan-Mar;6(1):1-9. doi: 10.4103/2230-973X.176456.

Insulin delivery methods: Past, present and future.

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Department of Pharmacology, GMERS Medial College, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.
Brain Research and Intervention Center, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA.
Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado, Denver, USA.


Many patients with advanced type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and all patients with T1DM require insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the target range. The most common route of insulin administration is subcutaneous insulin injections. There are many ways to deliver insulin subcutaneously such as vials and syringes, insulin pens, and insulin pumps. Though subcutaneous insulin delivery is the standard route of insulin administration, it is associated with injection pain, needle phobia, lipodystrophy, noncompliance and peripheral hyperinsulinemia. Therefore, the need exists for delivering insulin in a minimally invasive or noninvasive and in most physiological way. Inhaled insulin was the first approved noninvasive and alternative way to deliver insulin, but it has been withdrawn from the market. Technologies are being explored to make the noninvasive delivery of insulin possible. Some of the routes of insulin administration that are under investigation are oral, buccal, nasal, peritoneal and transdermal. This review article focuses on the past, present and future of various insulin delivery techniques. This article has focused on different possible routes of insulin administration with its advantages and limitation and possible scope for the new drug development.


Diabetes mellitus; artificial pancreas; closed-loop system; inhaled insulin; insulin delivery; oral insulin; technology

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