Blogs and Online Articles on Afrezza

Sanofi’s inhalable insulin Afrezza new hope for diabetes treatment

By Susanna Sisson 2015-11-19 19:00 on

Sanofi’s inhalable insulin Afrezza new hope for diabetes treatment

Early in 2015, it was announced that the world’s first viable, inhalable form of insulin, Afrezza, was about to hit the market. Another similar drug, Exubera, marketed by Pfizer in 2005, failed in marketplace showing as well as efficacy due to the enormous size of the delivery device, and was taken off the market within two years.

According to the manufacturer, Mannkind who teamed up with French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to produce Afrezza, the drug has many benefits over current available hyperglycemic drug options.

Pros of Afrezza

Approved for both Type 1 and 2 diabetics.

No needles – Afrezza is powdered insulin that dissolves immediately when inhaled into the lungs, and is then quickly dumped into the bloodstream to start working. The drug is delivered via a tiny inhaler device rather than the standard insulin pen or pump that is meant to be disposed of after 15 days.

Convenient – The device, called the Dreamboat, is about the size of a human finger thus easy to carry in purse or pocket. Afrezza is available as 4 unit and 8 unit single-use cartridges. Three cartridges are contained in a single cavity of a blister strip. Each card contains 5 blister strips separated by perforations for a total of 15 cartridges. Two cards of the same cartridge strength are packaged in a foil laminate overwrap (30 cartridges per foil package). The perforation allows users to remove a single strip containing 3 cartridges, which can be carried in a pocket or a purse. The company is planning new sizes of the drug in 9 and 12 unit cartridges.[4]

Rapid acting – Afrezza enters the bloodstream faster than Humalog insulin and has a shorter half-life so it is able to counteract the peak blood level spike of glucose from carbs and is out of the system rapidly enough to prevent lingering low blood sugar levels.

Reduces hypoglycemic episodes – While doctors and proponents of Afrezza say it does reduce incidence of post-prandial (post meal) episodes of low blood sugar, the FDA would not allow that to be part of the product usage labeling.

Tighter control - Afrezza can be used after a larger meal to lower blood sugar and bring down highs quickly without the risk of stacking insulin.

Less weight gain – While some diabetes medications cause weight gain, Afrezza does not appear to have that side effect.

No munchies – with better blood sugar control, there are fewer episodes of blood sugar drop and the hunger that goes with which may also account for less weight gain.

Cons of Afrezza

Not a stand-alone insulin therapy and does not replace other hyperglycemic drugs such as injectable insulin. Afrezza is intended for pre-prandial use and post-prandial spikes.

Contraindicated for patients with any lung disorder such as COPD or asthma or for smokers.

Not approved for pediatric patients, yet, but the company is seeking FDA approval for pediatric use.

Not covered by some insurance plans so be sure to check your policy.

Afrezza is fairly also cost effective and comparable to injectable insulin. Walgreen quoted a cost of $334 out-of-pocket cash price for a box of 30 4-unit cartridges or 60 of the 8-unit cartridges.

Insurance companies that currently pay 50% of patient’s insulin costs also cover Afrezza, so, the price would be $130.80 for a box of 60 of the 4-units that should last a month. That is comparable to current insulin prices – and even potentially a bit less than what many pay for a month’s worth of Humalog or Novolog.

A Breath of Fresh Air for Diabetes Patients

By Andrew McLean@Drew_McLean Oct 27, 2015, 5:35 PM

A Breath of Fresh Air for Diabetes Patients

(The threat of diabetes is real, and finding a proper and practical treatment for the disease is imperative. Many who suffer from diabetes can now utilize the insulin-intake alternative Afrezza, helping to improve health outcomes.)

Insulin Inhaler: New Diabetes Option Before Meals

Nurse has good experience with Afrezza
October 13, 2020 / By Sue Cotey and Andrea Harris, RNs

Insulin Inhaler: New Diabetes Option Before Meals

There’s good news for patients who would like an easier way to get their insulin. A new rapid inhaled insulin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The new drug, called Afrezza®, delivers insulin in the form of a fine powder, and you can inhale it at the start of a meal to help with blood sugar control.

As a nurse and certified diabetes educator who has also lived with diabetes for the past 17 years, I wanted to try this new option. After using it for a few months, I found the inhaled insulin to be effective, easy to use, and a great alternative to an injection when I needed mealtime insulin. It can be used safely with any basal insulin, such as Lantus®, Levemir® or Toujeo®. Anyone who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can benefit from this treatment option.

Inhaler benefits

Here are some of the benefits of the inhaled insulin:

  • It decreases risk for hypoglycemia. The onset time is 12 to 15 minutes and it is totally out of your system within 180 minutes.
  • It is painless, convenient and effective. Once inhaled, the insulin gets released into the body through your lungs and released into tiny airways that help move the insulin into the bloodstream quickly.
  • Color coding makes the dosages easy to identify. The color coding of the blisters are blue for four units, green for eight units and yellow for 12 units of insulin. This color coding decreases the possibility of errors.
  • The blister and the inhaling device are small and compact. Both can easily fit into a small purse or pant pocket.
  • The inhaling device is included with the monthly prescription. The device is changed every two weeks and needs no special care. Simply place the cap back on after use.
  • It is easy to use. To properly use the inhaling unit, you just place the prescribed blister containing a powder form of insulin into the device. Breathe out, place the device in your mouth and take in a deep breath slowly over the course of three to five seconds. Then breathe normally.

Things to remember

This insulin works best when taken at the start of a meal. The powder may cause a little cough, but drinking a few sips of water afterwards helps relieve this problem. As with any insulin, you should monitor your blood glucose regularly for trending and dose titration purposes while on this medication. Be sure to have regular follow-up visits and complete needed lab work for your prescribing physician. This is important to keep you on track and ensure that the medication is working effectively.

Hypoglycemia is the most common adverse reaction for any insulin, including Afrezza.

This medication is not recommended for those with chronic lung problems or smokers. Prior to starting Afrezza, a physical exam and a special pulmonary function test is needed to identify any potential lung disease. A follow-up lung test is needed at six months and yearly while on this medication.

You will want to talk with your doctor to decide if Afrezza is the right mealtime insulin for you.

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