Methods for Delivering Insulin

Novel kinds of insulin are being developed, and the syringe, needle, and vials of insulin no longer need to be carried with you if you need multiple injections. The syringe remains the most common method for delivering insulin, but advances are slowly being made to simplify the method of delivery.

Researchers designed a pill but found that enzymes from the stomach broke it down before it delivered the insulin. A patch also proved to be disappointing. Various other methods often proved too complicated or impractical.

Prefilled Insulin Pens

A step up from the needle and syringes, and vials of insulin is the prefilled insulin pins. It is easy to cover, injects the correct amount of insulin, and delivered by an item that looks like a cartridge pen. If you need to make multiple injections a day, the insulin pen may be the answer for you.

Cartridges are available with the many different forms of insulin available and a dial allows you to inject the needed number of units you need. The tip of the pen is a disposable needle. It punctures the skin just enough to deliver the insulin. Because they are small and disposable, they are easier to carry than regular syringes, insulin, swabs, and needles.

Insulin Pumps

One of the most recent advances is the insulin pump. Several companies already market a pump for insulin delivery and over 50,000 people are using it worldwide. This pump is made of a reservoir that is similar to an insulin cartridge; a battery ran pump, and a computer chip. This computer chip allows the user to control the insulin delivered to the body.

The pumps on the market today are about the size of a beeper or pager. It attaches to the abdomen and a thin plastic tube with a small, soft needle is inserted under the skin. This cannula (needle) is replaced every two days and may taken off while showering or swimming. This pump delivers insulin twenty-four hours a day, delivered at a set rate and programmable to allow for sleeping, exercising, and variations in lifestyle.


Another promising way of giving insulin is the inhalation method. The United States Food and Drug Administration have not approved this method. It is in phase III testing that means that humans have tested it. The results look good and it might be on the market in the next one to two years. Many other medications are delivered with the inhalation method.

Asthma sufferers have inhalation therapy that eases the effects of an asthma attack. Insulin would need to reach the air sacks at the end of the bronchial tubes, as the tubes cant absorb the insulin. Powdered nebulizers and inhalers are being tested but need to be proved safe before approved by the FDA.

Many Americans suffer from diabetes, and many more will be diagnosed in the future. Obesity is growing more common and as people are educated, more cases of diabetes will be found. Scientists and researchers are still looking for a better more efficient way to deliver insulin to the body.

See Also:

Diabetes Medications