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Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 23:14 GMT 00:14 UK
Patients offered nasal remedies
Pills, BBC
Nasal spray could replace conventional tablets
Drugs of the future could be inhaled through the nose rather than swallowed or injected, scientists have suggested.

A study carried out by Dr Jan Born and colleagues at the University of Lubeck has found that sniffing some types of medication enables the drugs to affect the brain much more quickly.

The researchers believe the discovery could help to improve the treatment of patients with brain diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's and perhaps depression.

Nasal delivery may be useful in the treatment of brain diseases

Dr Jan Born, University of Lubeck
However, they have warned that more research is needed before sniffing could become a viable way of administering medication.

Nasal route

The researchers delivered several compounds known to affect brain function into the nasal passages of human volunteers.

Samples taken from the participants showed rapid elevation of the levels of each compound in brain fluid with generally little change seen in the blood.

They suggested that nasal administration of medication could prove particularly useful in patients where access to their brain through blood is limited or when the necessary drugs may cause undesirable side effects in other areas of the body.

Writing in the latest issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, they say: "Nasal delivery may be useful in the treatment of brain diseases, particularly those involving dysfunction of neuropeptide signalling, such as Alzheimer's disease and obesity."

But they add: "The utility of the intranasal route of peptide administration remains to be proven in clinical trials."

See also:

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