THERAPEUTIC PREPARATION FOR
This invention relates to a therapeutic preparation of insulin, which is suitable for inhalation. 5
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Insulin plays a central role in the regulation of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism in the body. Diabetes 10 mellitus (commonly referred to simply as diabetes) is a disease characterized by disregulation of metabolism, particularly glucose metabolism. In normal individuals, a rise in blood glucose levels (such as that which occurs immediately following eating) triggers the islet beta cells of the pancreas 15 to secrete insulin, a peptide hormone, into the bloodstream. The insulin binds to insulin receptors located on a number of cell types, notably muscle cells, and thereby signals the cells to increase the rate of glucose uptake into the cells. As the blood glucose returns to normal pre-prandial levels, the 20 amount of insulin in the blood also drops. In the absence of insulin, blood glucose levels would rise to dangerously high levels (a condition termed hyperglycemia), possibly resulting in death. Too much insulin causes abnormally low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia), which is also dangerous and 25 possibly fatal. In a normal individual, built-in feedback loops regulating the secretion of insulin and its clearance from the systemic circulation prevent both hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic conditions from occurring.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease affecting about 3% of the 30 population of Sweden. Of these 3%, approximately 20% suffer from Type I diabetes, and the remainder from Type II diabetes.
Type I diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), usually begins in childhood. It is characterized by 35 atrophy of the pancreatic beta cells, resulting in a decrease or cessation of insulin production, and leaving the patient dependent on exogenous insulin for survival.
The more common Type II diabetes, or non-insulin- 4Q dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), generally occurs in patients older than 40 years. These patients may, at least initially, have normal or even high levels of insulin in their blood, but exhibit an abnormally low rate of cellular uptake of glucose in response to insulin. Although Type II diabetes 45 often can be treated by controlling the patient's diet, administration of exogenous insulin to supplement that secreted by the patient's beta cells may also prove necessary.
Insulin cannot be orally administered in effective doses, since it is rapidly degraded by enzymes in the gastrointes- 50 tinal tract and low pH in the stomach before it can reach the bloodstream. The standard method of administration is by subcutaneous injection of an isotonic solution of insulin, usually by the patient him/herself. The necessity for injection causes a great deal of inconvenience and discomfort to 55 many sufferers, and local reactions can occur at the injection site. In addition there is an abnormal, non-physiological, plasma concentration profile for injected insulin. This abnormal plasma concentration profile is undesirable and increases the risk of side effects related to the long term go treatment of diabetes.
Because of these disadvantages, there is a need for insulin in a form which is administrable other than by injection. In attempts to produce such different forms of insulin, various proposals have been made. For example, products for nasal, 65 rectal and buccal administration have been suggested, with much effort being concentrated on products for nasal admin
istration. Nasal administration is however problematic and permits only a very low bioavailability. Pulmonary delivery of systemically active drugs has gained increasing interest over the last years, and some investigations have included the pulmonary delivery of insulin. Most of these are concerned with solutions or suspensions for pulmonary delivery for example by nebulisers and pressurised metered dose inhalers, and all have met with limited success.
We have now found that insulin can be included in a dry powder preparation for inhalation also including a substance which enhances the absorption of insulin in the lung, from which preparation the insulin may be absorbed in a therapeutically acceptable rate and amount. By "enhances absorption" is meant that the amount of insulin absorbed into the systemic circulation in the presence of the enhancer is higher than the amount absorbed in the absence of enhancer.
According to this invention therefore, there is provided a therapeutic preparation comprising active compounds (A) insulin, and (B) a substance which enhances the absorption of insulin in the lower respiratory tract, which preparation is in the form of a dry powder suitable for inhalation in which at least 50% of the total mass of active compounds consists of (a) primary particles having a diameter of less than about 10 microns, for example between 0.01 and 10 microns and preferably between 1 and 6 microns, or (b) agglomerates of said particles.
The therapeutic preparation of the present invention may contain only the said active compounds or it may contain other substances, such as a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. This carrier may largely consist of particles having a diameter of less than about 10 microns so that at least 50% of the resultant powder as a whole consists of optionally agglomerated primary particles having a diameter of less than about 10 microns; alternatively the carrier may largely consist of much bigger particles ("coarse particles"), so that an "ordered mixture" may be formed between the active compounds and the said carrier. In an ordered mixture, alternatively known as an interactive or adhesive mixture, fine drug particles (in this invention, the active compounds) are fairly evenly distributed over the surface of coarse excipient particles (in this invention, the pharmaceutically acceptable carrier). Preferably in such case the active compounds are not in the form of agglomerates prior to formation of the ordered mixture. The coarse particles may have a diameter of over 20 microns, such as over 60 microns. Above these lower limits, the diameter of the coarse particles is not of critical importance so various coarse particle sizes may be used, if desired according to the practical requirements of the particular formulation. There is no requirement for the coarse particles in the ordered mixture to be of the same size, but the coarse particles may advantageously be of similar size within the ordered mixture. Preferably, the coarse particles have a diameter of 60-800 microns.
In a particular embodiment therefore this invention provides a therapeutic preparation of insulin and a substance which enhances the absorption of insulin in the lower respiratory tract, which preparation is in the form of a dry powder preparation suitable for inhalation of which at least 50% by mass consists of (a) particles having a diameter of less than about 10 microns or (b) agglomerates of said particles; in a further particular embodiment, the invention