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Expert Advice: ‘Is Insulin Nasal Spray Safe, and Does It Work?’

It's not often considered, but it could help.

As healthcare costs rise and rise, the price of life-saving insulin drugs is unfortunately not getting lower. What complicates matters: Many people who are diabetic still struggle to find an insulin-delivering system that really works for them. However, there’s a product on the market known as insulin nasal spray that isn’t often considered. Does it work? Our expert, Dr. Heather Moday, offers her opinion below.

Meet our expert.

Heather Moday, MD, is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram (@theimmunitymd), where she shares information on health topics. And to ask her a question here, send an email to

The Safety of Insulin Spray

Q: I’m diabetic and I saw an advertisement for a type of insulin that’s delivered through a nasal spray. Is it safe and does it work?  

A: Insulin nasal spray, or intra-nasal insulin, was approved by the FDA a few years ago, and it is a great alternative to injectable insulin for some folks. In fact, research in the journal Diabetes Care found the treatment can lower average blood sugar more than injectable insulin. Plus, it improves insulin resistance, which scientists suspect is due to insulin entering the brain instead of the bloodstream, so there is less unused insulin circulating in the body. And there’s an added bonus: Research from Harvard has found that the increased blood flow to the brain improves memory and reaction time.  

Since intranasal insulin can increase the risk of coughing and throat irritation, the treatment may not be the best option for smokers and people with asthma or lung disease. You can discuss it with your doctor to make sure you’re a good candidate. 

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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