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FDA to consider small inhaler for diabetes patients – MedCity Morning Read, Oct. 12, 2009

People with diabetes soon may be able to use a discreet device to inhale, rather than inject, insulin, according to The New York Times. The device, a small inhaler and insulin powder created by the Valencia, Calif.-based MannKind Corporation, is awaiting marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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People with diabetes soon may be able to use a discreet device to inhale, rather than inject, insulin, according to The New York Times.

The device, a small inhaler and insulin powder created by the Valencia, Calif.-based MannKind Corporation, is awaiting marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Times said.

Inhaling insulin to control blood sugar levels is not a novel idea, the Times explained, noting that, in 2006, Pfizer introduced a product called Exubera. But that product, described as “large and awkward” by critics, never really caught on; it was withdrawn less than two years after approval, the Times reported.

Right now, the MannKind inhaler “fits neatly in one hand,” and a second-generation version is the size of a whistle, the Times said.

The MannKind system is for adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. According to the Times, it works like this: A patient puts a cartridge with an insulin dose into an inhaler and turns its mouthpiece. The patient inhales the insulin powder, known as Afresa, into the lungs, where it dissolves and then travels into the bloodstream.

The Times quoted several doctors who raised questions about the product, but one acknowledged that many people would appreciate the convenience factor.

As of 2007 in the United States, 23.5 million people aged 20 and older had diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

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