Efficacy and reproducibility of insulin administered intranasally as an insulin-deoxycholate 1% (w/v) aerosol to normal and diabetic subjects were assessed by measurements of blood glucose and serum insulin levels. Following administration of 0.5 U insulin/kg with the unconjugated bile salt to fasting volunteers (N = 29), peak serum insulin levels of 103 ± 49 μM/ml above baseline were observed at 10 min. Blood glucose concentration began to fall by 10 min, reaching 54 ± 14% of control levels by 30 min, and returning to baseline by 60–80 min. Blood glucose response and peak serum insulin levels were reproducible when the same aerosol dose was repeatedly administered to the same subjects; however, intersubject variations were noted. By comparing serum insulin levels after i.v. and nasal routes of administration, nasal insulin absorption was approximately 10% as efficient as intravenous insulin. Dose response studies revealed that peak serum insulin concentrations were a linear function of the administered dose. In subjects with type I and type II diabetes mellitus, serum insulin levels increased in a manner similar to controls, and resulted in a prompt reduction of blood glucose concentration. However, in contrast to normal subjects, the duration of the glucose response was more prolonged, lasting as long as 5 h. Nasal administration of insulin as an aerosol with bile salts or bile salt analogs should be further evaluated as a possible nonparenteral approach to insulin therapy.

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