Inhaled insulin has arrived

Diabetics who are tired of daily insulin shots potentially have reason to celebrate. Sanofi and Mannkind have just launched Afrezza, an inhalable insulin therapy.

The drug was approved for patient use last June, and it may now be a viable option for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

A similar product called Exubera was approved in 2006, but it didn't go over well with patients as it required periodic lung health tests and was somewhat "bulky," reports Reuters.

Afrezza comes in a smaller device and helps to rapidly disperse insulin into the blood stream.

"You can basically plan around your day, rather than planning around your insulin," Stefan Schwarz, Sanofi's head of Afrezza's U.S. marketing, said in an interview.

Cost for Afrezza is significantly higher than injectable insulin

According to Sanofi, Afrezza should cost about $7.50 to $9.25 per day for a typical patient, which is significantly more than many injectable insulin varieties.

But the benefits may outweigh the price tag; the inhaler doesn't need cleaning and dispenses insulin through units, making dosage tracking easy for patients.

The device needs to be replaced every 15 days.

"This is an alternative for those patients who are not willing to inject insulin," Schwarz said.

Source: Reuters, ABC News

Image courtesy of marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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