Inhaled Insulin Could Signal A Syringe-Free Future

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IMG_0037_rPhotographed by Jessica Nash.
When it comes to the most common chronic diseases we still struggle with today, diabetes is one of the most demanding, both physically and mentally. Keeping your blood sugar under control is a daily struggle, requiring countless finger pricks and, for many, regular insulin injections. And, of course, not staying on top of your insulin could have severe health consequences for diabetes patients.

But, a pretty brilliant new innovation will make life a lot easier for the millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes. A new form of insulin that is inhaled, rather than injected, is well on its way to FDA approval after an advisory committee voted to recommend the drug for use by patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

This new treatment, known as Afrezza, will be a very big deal, particularly for type 1 diabetes patients, who need regular shots of insulin to survive. The inhaler is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, and manufacturers claim it can deliver insulin more quickly than even the most rapid injectable options.

The FDA will decide later this month whether Afrezza is fit to be prescribed to patients yet; there are some concerns that prolonged exposure to insulin could cause lung cancer, though small studies conducted so far show no evidence of this. But, while this is obviously a potentially life-changing development for people living with diabetes, we can't help but dream of a day when we'll be able to inhale all of our vaccines. After all, you can already get your flu shot via nasal spray. Will needles soon become a thing of the past? (The New York Times)