FDA Approves New Hypoglycemia Nasal Spray to Treat Low Blood Sugar

Categories: Diabetes, Drug Safety | Posted On:

Did you hear about the recent FDA approval of the hypoglycemia nasal spray?

This can be a life-saver (literally) for many. 

You know how important it is to keep your blood sugar levels stable when you have diabetes.

You’ve probably heard a lot about it from your physician.

If you are curious enough, you’ve probably also read about it online in one of the many articles written on this topic.

This is great.

It is very useful and important.

However, the majority of these guidelines usually focus on preventing blood sugar levels from increasing.

After all, long-term high blood sugar levels are responsible for most of the health hazards associated with diabetes.

But, diabetes is a condition characterized by your body’s inability to control blood sugar levels.

This lack of control means that you have to do something about it.

Usually, a combination of a specific diet, an exercise program, and therapy (diabetes medications) are necessary.

Adhering to your treatment gives you plenty of control over your illness.

It also makes you responsible for a job that would otherwise (if you were healthy) be done automatically by your body.

All of this together also puts you in a position where it is easy to make mistakes.

One of the most serious consequences of such mistakes is hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar.

It is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening state.

Diabetics can enter hypoglycemia for several reasons.

The three most common ones are:

  1. Very restrictive diet
  2. Very high dose of insulin
  3. An extremely intense exercise regimen

Once you experience the first symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as extreme hunger, shaking, dizziness, confusion, sweating, or blurred vision you can react by eating or drinking a type of food or beverage which contain easily accessible sugar.

Sugary sodas, fruit juices, and candies (not chocolate) will usually do the trick.

Usually, not always.

The most severe cases require the injection of glucagon.

This hormone signals your body to release the stored sugar into the bloodstream.

Until recently, glucagon was only available in a powder form that needs to be mixed with water, drawn into a syringe, and injected using a needle.

We can all agree that this is a relatively long process that takes some skill as well as the absence of needle phobia.

When we add to this a very real possibility of fainting, everything becomes even more serious.

In this case, you depend on someone else, possibly a family member, having to inject you with glucagon.

Luckily, there is a simpler way.

Recently, scientists have developed a glucagon nasal spray.

A very simple and effective solution, even for the most severe hypoglycemia cases.

In this article, we intend to explain how it works and how you can benefit from its use.

But first, let’s say a few words about hypoglycemia.

What Is Hypoglycemia and Why Is It Dangerous?

Hypoglycemia is a state in which your body has very low levels of glucose (blood sugar).

Since glucose is the main source of energy for all cells and tissues, hypoglycemia can produce many severe health consequences, including loss of consciousness, seizures, and even death.

What Causes Hypoglycemia?

You might wonder how your glucose levels can drop that much, especially if you have diabetes.

The answer is not very complicated.

However, to understand it you need to learn about the relationship between glucose and insulin.

When you eat carbs such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, sweets, etc., glucose, along with other sugars, enters your body.

The body wants to deliver that glucose to all the cells but it cannot do so without the help of insulin, a hormone produced in your pancreas.

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Now, if you have type 1 diabetes, you do not produce enough insulin, or you do not produce it at all. It is clear how this can be a problem.

With type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, your body is not responsive enough to insulin.

This is called insulin resistance and it means that insulin cannot do its job properly.

Since your body likes to store extra glucose in the form of glycogen, not being able to regulate that extra glucose can cause unwanted blood sugar spikes.

To solve this issue, diabetics are often prescribed with self-administered insulin therapy.

If you are injecting yourself with insulin, you are at risk of taking a higher dose than you need to keep your blood sugar at a normal level.

When this happens, too much insulin can cause your blood sugar to drop to a dangerously low level, triggering hypoglycemia.

Stored glucose can come in handy in those moments. Your body stores glucose to use it as a preferred energy source when you don’t eat for a longer time.

During such times, the stored glucose is released with the help of glucagon, another important hormone secreted by your pancreas.

That is why powdered glucagon is used in a nasal spray to treat hypoglycemia.

Why Is Hypoglycemia Dangerous?

The severe consequences of hypoglycemia come from your brain’s inability to function without glucose.

When your blood sugar levels are too low (under 70 milligrams per deciliter) for a longer time you are at great risk of losing consciousness.

The loss of consciousness can cause serious injuries, mainly through falls. It can also be a reason behind motor vehicle accidents.

Other severe complications include seizures and eventually death.

Baqsimi - Nasal Spray for Hypoglycemia

How the New Hypoglycemia Nasal Spray Helps

The invention of a nasal spray for the instant treatment of low blood sugar is a real breakthrough.

The device was developed by the company called Eli Lilly and Co. a few years ago and it has just been approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

The nasal spray promises a fast, simple, effective, and safe relief from hypoglycemia symptoms.

This is important if we know that untreated hypoglycemia can only become progressively worse and ultimately lead to death.

So, how the spray works?

The nasal spray is a small device, similar in appearance and function to a classic steroid inhaler used in congestion treatment, but smaller.

The spray is filled with powdered glucagon.

Application is simple. All that you, or someone helping you at that moment, need to do is put the tip of the spray inside one nostril and push the bottom up.

This action delivers a necessary dose of glucagon into the bloodstream through inhalation.

The result is a rise in blood sugar levels within thirty minutes after the application.

study sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co. shows that the effects of nasal spray use match those achieved with the classic syringe-and-needle method.

Furthermore, it is a one-step method.

There is no need to mix the powder with water before application or for any other preparation.

This shortens the reaction time and reduces the stress on both the patient and the caregiver.

All of this promises to significantly improve the quality of life for many people with diabetes.

It is estimated that around 300.000 people are hospitalized every year in the United States due to hypoglycemia.

Eli Lilly and Co. will market the new nasal spray under the name Baqsimi.

It will be available in a single-use dispenser.

The company which specializes in the production of insulin and classic glucagon emergency kits will offer the new nasal spray as a one-pack and two-pack kit.

The listed price is $280 and $560 respectively.

The Bottom Line

The new nasal spray for low blood sugar treatment, sold under the name Baqsimi, is the simplest and most effective method to deliver glucagon to your bloodstream whenever you experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia.

It is also the fastest way to do it.

The nasal spray is easy to use by any potential caregiver and it can be applied even while the person is unconscious, with almost immediate effect.

How to Use the New Hypoglycemia Nasal Spray

Expert References:

  1. Yu J, Zhang Y, Sun W, Kahkoska AR, Wang J, Buse JB, Gu Z. Insulin-Responsive Glucagon Delivery for Prevention of Hypoglycemia. Small. 2017 May;13(19):10.1002/smll.201603028. doi: 10.1002/smll.201603028. Epub 2017 Mar 20. PubMed PMID: 28318091; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5769873.
  2. Sherr JL, Ruedy KJ, Foster NC, Piché CA, Dulude H, Rickels MR, Tamborlane WV, Bethin KE, DiMeglio LA, Fox LA, Wadwa RP, Schatz DA, Nathan BM, Marcovina SM, Rampakakis E, Meng L, Beck RW; T1D Exchange Intranasal Glucagon Investigators. Glucagon Nasal Powder: A Promising Alternative to Intramuscular Glucagon in Youth With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016 Apr;39(4):555-62. doi: 10.2337/dc15-1606. Epub 2016 Feb 16. PubMed PMID: 26884472; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4806770.
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373685
  4. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01994746
  5. Yale JF, Dulude H, Egeth M, Piché CA, Lafontaine M, Carballo D, Margolies R, Dissinger E, Shames AR, Kaplowitz N, Zhang MX, Zhang S, Guzman CB. Faster Use and Fewer Failures with Needle-Free Nasal Glucagon Versus Injectable Glucagon in Severe Hypoglycemia Rescue: A Simulation Study. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2017 Jul;19(7):423-432. doi: 10.1089/dia.2016.0460. Epub 2017 May 30. PubMed PMID: 28556672; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5563859.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

New Hypoglycemia Nasal Spray

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