Tired of mealtime insulin injections? Find out how the new inhalable insulin works and if it is right for you!
If you are tired of injecting yourself with insulin to treat your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, new inhalable insulin could provide you with a non-invasive alternative. Afrezza is a rapid onset, short-term inhalable insulin designed to treat mealtime spikes of blood sugar without the need for painful injections. This treatment won’t eliminate the need for long-acting insulin, but people who have to take insulin when they eat may be able to switch to this discreet, convenient insulin delivery system. Afrezza has been on the market for a few years, but many people with diabetes are still unaware that inhalable insulin may be an option for them.
Why the new inhalable insulin is needed
People with Type 1 diabetes are unable to make insulin, so they need to take long-acting insulin on a daily basis. Some individuals with Type 2 diabetes also require insulin, particularly to control spikes in their blood glucose levels after meals. The American Diabetes Association reports that Afrezza inhalable insulin is a “great option to initiate or intensify insulin.” Inhalable insulin is designed to be used by adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are on basal insulin and require additional insulin injections at mealtimes. People with Type 2 diabetes who are having difficulty controlling their diabetes with diet, exercise, and oral insulin but are reluctant to begin taking insulin injections may also benefit from taking inhalable insulin.
How the new inhalable insulin works
Afrezza inhalable insulin gives users the flexibility to manage their diabetes anywhere, from the center of a crowded restaurant to the sidelines of a playing field. It is a rapid-onset, powdered form of insulin that is administered through a small inhaler that resembles a whistle. Because the insulin is powdered, you don’t have to worry about refrigeration. Dosing cartridges contain 4 or 8 standard units, enough insulin for a typical meal.
The insulin delivery device fits in the palm of a hand and is simple to operate. There is no delay in administration – simply inhale the insulin as you begin to eat a meal. The powder is absorbed almost instantly. The inhaled insulin reaches your bloodstream within five to six seconds after inhalation and delivers peak insulin levels within 12-15 minutes after it is administered.
History of inhalable insulin
Afrezza is not the first inhalable insulin. A different manufacturer introduced an earlier version of inhalable insulin, named Exubera, in 2006. The medication was pulled off the market a year later, failing to gain market traction because users disliked its clunky, large apparatus, confusing dosing instructions, and high costs. MannKind, the manufacturer of this new inhalable insulin, has eliminated the problems that plagued the earlier version of the drug.
Are you a candidate for inhalable insulin?
If you are over eighteen years old, have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and require mealtime injections of insulin to maintain safe blood glucose levels, inhalable insulin may be right for you. Smokers and individuals with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma, are not eligible to use this form of insulin. You will need to pass a simple lung power test to determine that you will be able to breathe in strongly enough so that the inhaled insulin can reach your lungs.
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