Things You Must Know Before Taking Inhalable Insulin | Diabetes Health Page

Things You Must Know Before Taking Inhalable Insulin

By KrisTina | Articles

Sep 18

If you happen to have diabetes, then you are aware that insulin plays one of the most vital roles in keeping you alive. So of course, it’s great news when one’s insulin choices expand, it improves one’s quality of life.

The newest type of drug is an inhalable insulin, which is rapid-acting and called Afrezza. The MannKind Corporation is the one which manufactures it. It may very well represent an excellent alternative for those with diabetes who are tired of using the methods so far, such as needles or pumps.

It is super easy to use and a quick option during meals. As a matter of fact, it’s as simple as ‘1,2,3 – breathe!’. As great as this new method sounds, Afrezza does not come without certain drawbacks. Which is why some healthcare providers and patients have been apprehensive about using it.

One downside is that the insurance companies have reportedly been dragging their feet with coverage. But first, let us look at the positive sides of Afrezza before discussing any potential negative ones.

Benefits of Afrezza

Simply put, it is an inhalable type of powder containing insulin. One inhales it through their mouth and quickly absorbs it through their lungs. Its function is that of a fast-acting insulin. It peaks at about 12-15 minutes and lasts for about 3 hours.

It’s available in many different strengths, including 4-,8-, and 12-unit cartridges. Its biggest pro, to be sure, is how quickly it takes effect. It mirrors the quick-acting carbs much more closely than any shots or pumped insulin have been able to.

At least, according to the reports of those who have already tried it.One of them is an individual with type I diabetes, Mike Barry, who lives in Illinois. He added that this is of particular use during activities like long bike rides.

He went on to say that the ability to clear active insulin in an hour or two, rather than four, makes one’s diabetes not that much of a burden and ensures a happier life experience.

After all, many people with diabetes find insulin to be a limiting factor, particularly those who wish to lead more active lives.

The speed of action and of clearing the active insulin is vitally important for those who wish to exercise. And, as you may guess, Afrezza is a great alternative for anyone who has a phobia of needles, and thus may have been putting off insulin for way too long.

However, one needs to realize that Afrezza cannot replace the long-acting insulin, there is still a need for it. And now that you’ve been acquainted with the pros, let’s take a look at any possible cons.

Downsides to Afrezza

When asked what the biggest con for him was in using this type of insulin, Barry admitted it was the pulmonary situation. He said that Afrezza has caused him to cough constantly.

He added that this seemed more pronounced with the 8-unit cartridges, but was not uncommon with 4-unit ones either.

Furthermore, he stated that the dosing sizes seemed too large when one tries to make a small blood glucose correction. He reported experiencing a few ‘misfires’ when he wasn’t completely certain the dose was received.

The manufacturers of Afrezza, MannKind warns of the following potential, unwanted side-effects:

  • Sore throat
  • Low blood sugar
  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling nauseous

Moreover, Afrezza can cause spasms of the lungs (called bronchosmasms), and may even carry a heightened risk of heart or lung disease, or possibly a decrease in one’s potassium levels.

How to Get a Prescription?

Now that you have been informed of any possible dangers, it is your choice of whether you want to take Afrezza or not. We strongly advise you to consult with your doctor and see if this is truly the best option for you. Here’s some additional information:

  • If you have asthma or COPD, Afrezza should not be prescribed. Same goes if you are a smoker, or have quit smoking in the past half year.
  • In addition to a physical exam, one is advised to also have a spirometry (breathing test) to rule out any lung issues.
  • Inform your provider if you have any history with liver or kidney disease, lung-related problems, planning a pregnancy, are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Only those 18 or older should take Afrezza.

In order to increase the affordability of Afrezza, MannKind offers a patient savings card. Whatever you decide to do, stay healthy, dear readers.

Source: Diabetic Connect | WebMD