In DepthDRUG DELIVERY

Pills give patients a shot inside the stomach

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Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, pp. 571
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6427.571

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Summary

Injectable drugs, such as insulin and other large proteins, can be lifesavers. But many patients skip doses because they don't like needles, a practice that can put their health at risk. Researchers have tried to get around this over the past century by creating formulations of these medicines that can be taken orally. But this strategy has rarely worked, as the digestive system is designed to break down foreign proteins. Now, researchers report they've come up with a possible solution, a pill that injects its medicine in the stomach lining. Initial tests on animals shows insulin delivered in this manner controls blood sugar as well as a normal injection. Along with other related advances in the field, the new approach holds out new hope that patients may soon be able to do away with needles.