After a three-year delay, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval of an inhaled insulin to treat type 2 diabetes.
MannKind Corp’s drug Afrezza is a fast-acting form of insulin in a form of a powder that comes in a single-use cartridge. It is designed to be inhaled at the start of a meal or within 20 minutes of starting. Patients using the drug can achieve peak insulin levels within 12 to 15 minutes – much faster than the 90 minutes it generally takes with injectable insulin. Afrezza is not a substitute for long-acting insulin, but is a new option for controlling insulin levels during meals.
The FDA’s approval hinged on MannKind adding a black box warning to Afrezza’s safety label that patients with chronic lung diseases, like asthma, should not use the inhaled insulin because it could cause breathing spasms.
Drug manufacturers are continuously working to find new treatments for type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects nearly 350 million people worldwide. That number is expected to escalate in the next 20-plus years. Medications to treat diabetes have become a billion-dollar industry.
Drugs can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels and help stave off serious health complication associated with the chronic disease. However, many diabetes drugs carry serious risks. For example, Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and the drugs Januvia and Byetta have been associated with acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Patients should talk to their doctor about risks and benefits associated with their medications, and options for treatment.
Source: CBS News