People may be wondering ”since when can we inhale insulin”. Isn’t it something we have to inject? Well, the truth is – there is an inhalable version of this crucial drug. In the past, injections were the only possible way to administer insulin.
But, with the technological advances, scientists were able to create a more practical way of getting insulin. In fact, they had been working on the drug for decades. Finally, it has come to market, and some say it has positive effects.
For those who haven’t heard of inhalable insulin, here is everything we need to know about it. Also, there is a video at the end of the post overviewing how the drug proved useful for managing diabetes.
In 2014, FDA approved the inhaled insulin. To use this drug, we place the insulin medication inside the cartridge of the inhaler, shut it and breathe in. According to Dr. Nidal Hasan, insulin inhalers have been around for a long time, but they didn’t get much success.
The previous insulin inhalers were big and unpractical. But, the new ones seem more useful. Dr. Hasan says that the drug is a fast-acting insulin powder that can be effective for managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, when a patient breathes in the microparticles, they fly through the airways and reach the surface of the inner lungs. Once they have arrived at the destination, the particles dissolve inside the fluid of the inner lungs and quickly move to the bloodstream.
As a result, the insulin inhaler might provide a more improved delivery system of insulin.
Who Can’t Use It?
The insulin inhaler is not for everyone. Some people mustn’t use it like:
- smokers or people who recently quit
- children and teenagers under the age of 18
- those with chronic lung disease
Also, this inhaler is fairly new, which is why many doctors wait for more scientific proof to know if they can prescribe it or not.
According to studies, the insulin inhaler is similar to the asthma inhaler. It is small and practical.
But, if it weren’t for the newest technological advances from the late 90s, we wouldn’t be having this inhalable insulin today. Moreover, the inhaler contains concentrated insulin powder that once we inhale it, it goes right to the lungs.
Nektar Therapeutics created the first inhaled insulin back in 2006. But, it was an inhaled insulin that could only work to lower the blood glucose levels right after a patient has eaten carbs. In other words, after the patient finished eating, the insulin left the system very quickly.
Therefore, people who had to manage the condition constantly couldn’t benefit from such a short-term drug. As a result, they had to rely on injectable insulin for lasting effects. So, the inhaler could only help those with type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, in 2015, a new inhaled insulin hit the market. The one called Afrezza.
What Makes Afrezza Special?
The newest inhaled insulin Afrezza is completely different from the older version. The company MannKind Corp. created this new amazing drug. So far, patients who have tried using Afrezza claim that it is immensely helpful.
However, it is important to point out that everyone is different. So, if someone has experienced only positive things, it doesn’t mean that the same thing can happen to us as well.
Potential Risks of Inhaled Insulin
Like any drug, there are some potential risks. Firstly, as research claims, this type of insulin is NOT for smokers or anyone who has lung issues. Secondly, there isn’t enough solid evidence on how the inhaled insulin can affect the lungs.
It might have some mysterious long-term effects on the lungs.
Therefore, more research is necessary to know how this drug can affect the overall health after some time. Meanwhile, MannKind Corp has enough data to reassure the FDA that the product is safe and it doesn’t have any serious risks.
Therefore, this drug may be as helpful as people claim it to be. Watch this video to see what a patient thinks of the product.