FDA Approves Inhaled Medication Afrezza to Treat Diabetes

A rapid-acting inhaled insulin

MONDAY, June 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Afrezza (human insulin) Inhalation Powder, a rapid-acting inhaled insulin, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with diabetes. The rapid-acting, inhaled insulin is designed to be used within 20 minutes of beginning a meal, the agency said.

Afrezza's safety and effectiveness were evaluated in clinical studies involving more than 3,000 people, of whom about two-thirds had type 2 diabetes and the rest had type 1 diabetes.

The drug is not meant to replace long-acting insulin, and must be used in combination with long-acting insulin in people with type 1 disease, the FDA said. It should not be used to treat diabetic ketoacidosis or by smokers, the agency added.

Afrezza has a boxed label warning that users with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could develop acute bronchospasm. The drug, therefore, shouldn't be used by people with COPD or other forms of chronic lung disease such as asthma, the FDA said.

The most common side effects of the drug are hypoglycemia, cough, and throat pain or irritation.

The FDA said it ordered several post-approval studies to evaluate the drug's use among children and the potential risk of developing lung cancer.

Afrezza is manufactured by MannKind Corp., based in Danbury, Conn.

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