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Insulin inhalers could be back as a treatment option for diabetes

Those that can’t stand the sight of needles have a new source of hope in the shape of a small device that allows insulin to be inhaled rather than injected.
The insulin inhaler is called Afrezza and is being developed by MannKind Corpopratio, based in California.
This is not the first inhaler that has been developed for delivering insulin. Between 2006 and 2007, the insulin inhaler Exubera, manufactured by Pfizer was marketed and used in the USA. Within the UK, the product failed to be recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) on account of its high cost.
Whilst Exubera was popular amongst a minority of people with diabetes that had needle phobia, Exubera failed to achieve sufficient success in the US either, as the treatment failed to achieve enough demand from patients or physicians. The lack of interest could be explained by the size of the product, which was comparable to the size of a thermos flask, in addition to the cost.
Afrezza however is much smaller and if the cost issue can be addressed, the inhaler may stand a better chance of being accepted and winning approval from NICE in the UK. It is hoped that the device may be made available to people with either type 1 diabetes or type 2.
Readers should note that the product is currently awaiting approval in the US and so introduction to the UK is not guaranteed. Afrezza has previously been rejected, in 2011, by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) which asked to receive data from further clinical trials. The two trials have now been completed and these showed reductions in blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes and a reduction in incidences of hypoglycemia.

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