Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Select An Article

    Inhaled Insulin

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Researchers, doctors, and people with diabetes agree that injected insulin works well to manage the disease. They'll probably also say that getting insulin into your body through something other than a needle would be even better.

    You can't get insulin in a pill, but how about breathing it in?

    Recommended Related to Diabetes

    Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work

    When television's perennially popular Mary Richards walked into WJM's Minneapolis newsroom in 1970, she did more than show the world a single girl could "make it on her own." The award-winning actress who portrayed her -- Mary Tyler Moore -- also showed us diabetes and a career could coexist. Moore was diagnosed with adult-onset type 1 diabetes in the 1960s, several years before her Emmy-winning show began. But that didn't stop Moore from pursuing her career or turning the world on with a smile...

    Read the Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work article > >

    How Inhaled Insulin Works

    The idea of inhaling insulin has been around for decades. It wasn't until the 1990s that researchers made it possible.

    With an inhaler much like the ones people with asthma use, you breathe a fine insulin powder into your lungs. There, it enters your blood through tiny blood vessels.

    Inhaled Insulin Today

    In June 2014, the FDA approved Afrezza. It's an inhaler with pre-measured, rapid-acting insulin you use before meals.

    It's not for diabetes emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Common side effects of inhaled insulin are low blood sugar, a cough, and a scratchy or sore throat.

    If you have type 1 diabetes, you'll still need to take long-acting insulin, too, to help control your blood sugar.

    If you smoke or you have a lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, you shouldn't use inhaled insulin.

    Early Inhaled Insulin

    The FDA approved the first inhaled insulin, Exubera, in September 2006. People who had type 1 or type 2 diabetes could use it.

    But the drug's maker took it off the market in October 2007, because it didn't seem to catch on with patients. People thought the inhaler was too big and clunky. (The Afrezza inhaler is much smaller.) Later, the FDA was concerned that Exubera might cause lung problems including cancer.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on September 30, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow