FDA Approves First Ever Inhaled Insulin Combination Product for Treatment of Diabetes

There is a new, potential alternative for many of the more than 5 million Americans who take insulin injections, with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval today of the first ever inhaled insulin. Exubera, an inhaled powder form of recombinant human insulin (rDNA) for the treatment of adult patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is the first new insulin delivery option introduced since the discovery of insulin in the 1920s. Diabetes is a disease that affects the amount of insulin and sugar in your body. Exubera is a human form of insulin and as such, lowers blood sugar concentrations by allowing the blood sugar to be taken up by cells as a source of fuel. Exubera is a powdered form of insulin that is able to be inhaled into the lungs through the patient’s mouth using a specially designed inhaler. There are two major types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. People with type 1 diabetes produce virtually no insulin. In type 2, the most common form of the disease, the body does not produce enough insulin or effectively use insulin. If people with diabetes do not properly control their blood sugar levels, serious complications including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage may develop. Exubera is not to be used if you smoke or if you recently quit smoking (within the last 6 months). Exubera is not recommended in patients with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Baseline tests for lung function are recommended before beginning treatment and are recommended to be repeated every 6 to 12 months thereafter.