Sanofi and MannKind Corporation have recently announced that Afrezza®, an insulin human inhalation powder — the only way to inhale insulin, is now available in retail pharmacies across the United States and can now be prescribed. Afrezza is a United States Food and Drug Administration approved drug intended to control high blood sugar in adults that have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Afrezza is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin drug, formulated to address type 1 and type 2 diabetes by controlling hyperglycemia. It should be taken before each meal or right after, and is absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly, taking about 15 to 20 minutes before the insulin peaks in the bloodstream, which if injected, usually takes an hour. However, it is important to note that although Afrezza takes effect within minutes, it only stays active in the body for about 4 hours, similar to pancreatic activity.
Dr. Janet McGill, who is a Professor at Washington University School of Medicine, said in a press release: “Many people living with diabetes are not able to control their blood sugar on their current medications and may benefit from using insulin. Now they have another option to administer insulin that is not an injection. This delivery option may help change the dialogue between health care professionals and people living with diabetes about initiating or intensifying insulin therapy.”
This drug is not recommended for those who smoke or have recently quit smoking, nor is it intended to be used on diabetic ketoacidosis as a substitute of the long-acting insulin; instead, it should be used combined with the long-acting insulin in those with the type 1 diabetes. It is also not recommended for individuals with chronic lung disease.
“There is a recognized need for an insulin that does not require an injection, and our organization is committed to making this new treatment option available to patients,” said Pierre Chancel from Sanofi, emphasizing the fact that this drug represents a new approach to treating diabetes.
“We are extremely proud to see the many years of work that went into developing Afrezza culminate in the day when it is now available to help people manage their diabetes,” concluded Alfred Mann, representative of MannKind Corporation.