Afrezza Insulin Inhaler

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What is Afrezza?

Afrezza represents a significant leap forward in diabetes management, offering an innovative, inhalable insulin that promises a new level of freedom and control for adults living with diabetes. Unlike traditional insulin delivery methods that rely on injections, Afrezza utilizes a cutting-edge approach that allows insulin to be absorbed quickly through the lungs, providing rapid action against blood sugar spikes. This ultra rapid-acting insulin, available in the United States and expanding globally, is designed for use at meal times, aligning closely with the body’s natural insulin response to food intake. Its unique delivery system not only simplifies the insulin administration process but also opens up new possibilities for those seeking an alternative to needles and pens. Afrezza’s development and approval by health authorities underscore a commitment to advancing diabetes care and improving the quality of life for those affected by this chronic condition.

Understanding Afrezza: The Inhaled Insulin

Afrezza is not just another insulin product; it is a paradigm shift in insulin therapy. As an ultra rapid-acting mealtime insulin, Afrezza is administered via inhalation, making it the first of its kind to offer a needle-free insulin option. The product comes in the form of a dry powder, contained in single-use cartridges that are used with a specially designed inhaler. This innovative approach leverages the lungs’ vast absorptive surface area to expedite insulin’s entry into the bloodstream, offering a swift response to manage blood glucose levels effectively.

The mechanism behind Afrezza’s rapid action is its direct path to the bloodstream through the lungs, bypassing the slower subcutaneous route used by traditional insulin injections. This results in a faster onset of action, typically within minutes, allowing for more precise control of blood sugar levels around meal times. Clinical studies have highlighted Afrezza’s efficacy in managing postprandial glucose spikes, showcasing its potential to improve glycemic control and reduce the risk of long-term diabetes complications.

Afrezza is suitable for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, providing a flexible and discreet option for insulin therapy. Its dosing is tailored to individual needs, with cartridges available in various strengths to accommodate different mealtime insulin requirements. However, it’s important to note that Afrezza is not intended for everyone; it is contraindicated in individuals with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma or COPD, and is not recommended for smokers or those who have recently quit smoking. Prior to starting Afrezza, patients undergo lung function testing to ensure the treatment is appropriate for them.

In summary, Afrezza’s introduction into the diabetes care landscape offers a promising alternative to traditional insulin delivery methods. Its unique inhalable form, combined with rapid action and ease of use, positions Afrezza as a valuable tool in the ongoing effort to improve diabetes management and patient outcomes.

Benefits of Using Afrezza

Afrezza, the only inhaled insulin available on the market, offers several benefits that make it a compelling choice for managing diabetes. Its rapid action is particularly advantageous for controlling blood glucose levels during meals. Unlike traditional insulin that may take 30 minutes or more to begin working, Afrezza starts to lower blood sugar within minutes of inhalation, closely mimicking the body’s natural insulin response to food intake. This quick onset helps to effectively manage postprandial glucose spikes, potentially leading to better overall glycemic control.

The non-invasive delivery method of Afrezza is another significant benefit. For many individuals with diabetes, the daily routine of injections can be daunting, leading to anxiety or discomfort. Afrezza offers a needle-free alternative, providing a less invasive and more user-friendly option for insulin administration. This can improve adherence to insulin therapy and enhance the quality of life for those requiring insulin.

Moreover, Afrezza allows for greater flexibility and spontaneity in meal planning. Due to its rapid onset and short duration of action, individuals using Afrezza can more easily adjust their insulin dosing based on actual carbohydrate intake and spontaneous eating habits. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for those who find strict meal schedules challenging to maintain.

Who Can Use Afrezza

Afrezza is indicated for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes for the control of high blood sugar. It is designed to be used at meal times, providing rapid-acting insulin coverage for those consuming carbohydrates or needing a correction dose for high blood sugar. While Afrezza can be a game-changer for many, it’s not suitable for everyone.

Contraindications include individuals with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), due to the risk of acute bronchospasm. Additionally, Afrezza is not recommended for smokers or those who have quit smoking within the last six months. Before starting Afrezza, patients undergo lung function testing to ensure the treatment is safe for them.

How to Use Afrezza

Using Afrezza involves a few simple steps, but proper technique is crucial for effectiveness. The insulin powder comes in single-use cartridges, which are loaded into a specially designed inhaler. To administer a dose, the user inhales deeply through the device, delivering the insulin directly to the lungs where it’s rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

The timing of inhalation is important for optimal glucose control. Afrezza should be inhaled at the beginning of a meal or within 20 minutes after starting to eat to effectively manage the rise in blood glucose levels that occurs after eating.

Dosing with Afrezza is unique and may require some adjustment to find the right amount for each individual’s needs. The insulin is available in different strengths, and doses are determined based on meal size, carbohydrate content, and blood sugar levels. Regular blood glucose monitoring and consultation with a healthcare provider are essential to determine the appropriate dosing regimen.


The amount of Afrezza you need is tailored to you and decided by a healthcare provider, taking into account aspects like your blood sugar readings, health background, and how you react to the treatment. Afrezza is available in various dosages, offering 4 units, 8 units, and 12 units of insulin powder in each cartridge. Your doctor will instruct you on the proper use, including how many cartridges and inhalations are necessary for your individual insulin requirements. It’s important to adhere to the dosage guidelines given by your healthcare provider.

Side Effects and Precautions of Afrezza

Common Side Effects

While Afrezza offers a novel and less invasive way to administer insulin, users may experience some side effects, which are generally mild and manageable. Common side effects include:

  • Cough: Some users may experience a cough shortly after inhaling Afrezza. This is typically mild and tends to decrease with continued use as the body adjusts to the inhalation process.
  • Throat Irritation: Similar to the cough, throat irritation or discomfort can occur but usually diminishes over time. Drinking water before and after inhalation can help alleviate this sensation.
  • Hypoglycemia: As with any insulin therapy, there is a risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. This risk can be minimized through careful monitoring of blood glucose levels, appropriate dosing, and understanding how Afrezza works in the body.

Serious Side Effects

Afrezza is generally well-tolerated, but there are some serious side effects that users should be aware of:

  • Acute Bronchospasm: The most significant concern with Afrezza is the risk of acute bronchospasm, particularly in patients with chronic lung diseases such as asthma or COPD. This serious side effect can lead to difficulty breathing and requires immediate medical attention.

Precautions and Monitoring Requirements

Given the potential for serious respiratory side effects, there are important precautions and monitoring requirements associated with Afrezza use:

  • Lung Function Tests: Before initiating Afrezza, patients undergo lung function tests, including spirometry, to evaluate their suitability for this form of insulin. These tests help identify any underlying lung conditions that could increase the risk of acute bronchospasm.
  • Regular Monitoring: Once on Afrezza, patients should monitor their lung function regularly, especially if they experience respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. Follow-up lung function tests may be recommended based on individual risk factors and symptoms.
  • Avoidance in Certain Populations: Afrezza is contraindicated in patients with chronic lung diseases and those who smoke or have recently quit smoking. It’s crucial for patients to inform their healthcare provider of their smoking status and any history of lung disease before starting Afrezza.
  • Hypoglycemia Awareness: Users should be educated on recognizing and managing hypoglycemia. Since Afrezza acts rapidly, it’s important to have a plan in place for treating low blood sugar levels promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Afrezza is not a mist but an ultra rapid-acting dry powder insulin designed for inhalation by adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Afrezza provides a needle-free option for administering insulin, being the only ultra rapid-acting inhaled insulin on the market for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Yes, Afrezza inhaled insulin has been approved by the FDA as a safe and effective treatment option. Common side effects include hypoglycemia, cough, and sore throat.

Absolutely, Afrezza inhaled insulin is suitable for managing glucose levels in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Yes, adults living with type 1 diabetes can use Afrezza as a needle-free alternative for mealtime insulin.

Afrezza is the sole brand offering ultra rapid-acting inhaled insulin for adults with diabetes.

Afrezza is administered using an oral inhaler and comes in single-use cartridges. Detailed instructions and a how-to-use video are available for guidance.

MannKind Corporation manufactures Afrezza, the only ultra rapid-acting inhaled insulin for adults with diabetes.

Common side effects with Afrezza may include coughing upon initiation, low blood sugar, and sore throat.

Afrezza begins to lower blood sugar approximately 12 minutes after inhalation and exits the body within 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the dosage.