Breathable insulin gains traction as diabetes management tool

Fast-acting, inhalable insulin is growing in popularity among American adults with diabetes, local Minnesota outlet Fox 9 reported Feb. 1.

Breathable insulin is a relatively new addition to the family of diabetes management, and the inhaler—sold commercially under the brand name Afrezza—has only been FDA-approved for use in adults, according to Fox. Still, it could be an advantage for type 1 diabetics who are used to taking multiple daily insulin injections.

Stephanie Redmond, a pharmacist and diabetes educator, told Fox that for patients who take three to seven or more injections per day, an inhaler could be an attractive alternative to the scar tissue that can develop across injection sites. When you attempt to inject insulin into scar tissue, she said, it isn’t absorbed and yields no benefit.

Afrezza contains small particles of insulin that enter the lungs directly when a user inhales, allowing the insulin immediate access to the bloodstream. It’s short-acting but instantly helps the body process the energy in blood sugar.

“I have patients who’ve been on insulin pumps for awhile, and they want to go on a pump break, frankly for the reason that they are developing scar tissue where that infusion set is,” Redmond said. “I think this gives patients a sense of freedom that they don’t have to be hooked up to something. But then again, a pump has advantages that allow you to more fine-tune a dose that you are getting throughout the day.”

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