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Generic Name:

Human insulin, Inhalation powder

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  • Afrezza
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for Human insulin

Inhalation powder
1

Inhalable human insulin is a man-made insulin that’s inhaled by your mouth into your lungs. It’s used to control high blood sugar in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

2

This drug may be used instead of rapid- or short-acting insulin that’s injected with meals. It isn’t used in place of long-acting insulin.

3

This drug can cause lung problems. You shouldn’t use inhalable human insulin if you smoke, quit smoking in the last 6 months, haven’t been checked for lung disease, or have lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or diabetic ketoacidosis.

4

Your doctor will decide a dose that’s right for you. They’ll also show you how to load and use your insulin inhaler, check your blood sugar, and treat high or low blood sugar levels.

5

Common side effects include low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), cough, and sore throat.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Lung problems warning. Inhalable human insulin can cause serious, sudden lung problems (bronchospasms). Don’t use this drug if you have long-term (chronic) lung problems, such as lung cancer, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Before you start taking this drug, your healthcare provider will give you a breathing test to check how well your lungs are working.

Low blood sugar

This drug can cause a low blood sugar reaction (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar symptoms occur most often when your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dL. If you have a low blood sugar reaction, you’ll need to treat it right away. Symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • hunger
  • nervousness
  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • fast heart rate
  • lightheadedness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • vision changes
  • headache
  • mood changes
  • irritability

Low blood potassium

This drug may cause low blood potassium (hypokalemia). Mild low blood potassium may not cause symptoms. Moderate or severe low blood potassium may cause symptoms, including:

  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • weakness
  • muscle pain
  • cramps during exercise
  • leg pain when sitting still
  • limpness (paralysis) in body or lung muscles
  • abnormal heart rate
  • constipation

Severe low blood potassium may even be fatal. Tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

Heart failure

Taking certain diabetes pills called thiazolidinediones (TZDs) with inhalable human insulin may cause heart failure. This can happen even if you’ve never had heart failure or heart problems. If you already have heart failure, it may get worse. Your healthcare provider should monitor you closely while you’re taking TZDs with this drug. Tell your doctor right away if you have new or worse symptoms of heart failure, including:

  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of your ankles or feet
  • sudden weight gain
  • chronic coughing or wheezing
  • fatigue or lightheadedness
  • nausea or lack of appetite
  • confusion or impaired thinking
  • high heart rate

What is inhalable human insulin?

Inhalable human insulin is a prescription drug. It’s available as a powder for inhalation.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll also take a long-acting insulin by injection.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may also take oral diabetes medications and/or long-acting insulin injections.

Why it's used

Inhalable human insulin is used to control high blood sugar in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

How it works

Inhalable human insulin belongs to a class of drugs called insulin.

More Details

How It Works

Inhalable human insulin belongs to a class of drugs called insulin. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Inhalable human insulin uses many actions to decrease blood sugar levels. It helps move sugar from your bloodstream to your muscles and fat tissues, where it belongs. In your muscles, it helps improve the production of protein, prevents their breakdown, and increases your energy storage. In fat tissues, it prevents the breakdown of fat and helps to store sugar. In your liver, it stops sugar production.

In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin. Inhalable human insulin replaces part of the insulin that your body needs around meals. Insulin helps your body use or store the sugar (carbohydrates), protein, and fat you get from your meals. You’ll also take long-acting injectable insulin with inhalable human insulin.

In type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your body can’t use the insulin that your pancreas makes. Inhalable human insulin provides additional insulin to what your pancreas makes. You may take this drug with oral diabetes medicines or long-acting injectable insulins.

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SECTION 2 of 4

Human insulin Side Effects

Inhalation powder

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with inhalable human insulin include:

  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Symptoms may include:

    • sweating
    • dizziness
    • shakiness
    • hunger
    • fast heart rate
    • tingling lips and tongue
    • confusion
    • blurry vision
    • slurred speech
    • anxiety
    • headaches
  • cough

  • sore throat or throat pain

If these side effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • severe low blood sugar (less than 35–40 mg/dL or unable to treat yourself). Symptoms may include:

    • seizures or convulsions
    • loss of consciousness
    • coma
    • low body temperature
    • feeling like you’re going to pass out
  • low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia). Mild low blood potassium may not cause symptoms. Moderate or severe low blood potassium may cause symptoms, including:

    • confusion
    • disorientation
    • weakness
    • muscle pain
    • cramps during exercise
    • leg pain when sitting still
    • limpness (paralysis) in your body or lung muscles
    • abnormal heart rate
    • constipation
  • heart failure if you take inhalable human insulin with medicines for diabetes called thiazolidinediones or (TZDs). Symptoms may include:

    • shortness of breath
    • swelling of your ankles or feet
    • sudden weight gain
  •  allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • rash all over your body
    • itching
    • trouble breathing
    • fast heart rate
    • sweating
    • feeling faint
  • lung problems

    • trouble breathing
    • shortness of breath
    • worsening lung function based on breathing tests
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Inhalable human insulin will decrease your blood sugar levels, especially for 1–2  hours after you eat a meal.

If you have a low blood sugar reaction, you need to treat it. 

  • For mild hypoglycemia (55–70 mg/dL), treatment is 15–20 grams of glucose (a type of sugar). You need to eat or drink one of the following:
    • 3–4 glucose tablets
    • a tube of glucose gel
    • ½ cup of juice or regular, non-diet soda
    • 1 cup of nonfat or 1% cow’s milk
    • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
    • 8–10 pieces of hard candy, such as lifesavers
  • Test your blood sugar 15 minutes after you treat the low sugar reaction. If your blood sugar is still low, repeat the above treatment.
  • Once your blood sugar is back in the normal range, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than 1 hour later. 

If you don’t treat low blood sugar, you can have a seizure, pass out, and possibly develop brain damage. Low blood sugar can even be fatal. If you pass out because of a low sugar reaction or cannot swallow, someone will have to give an injection of glucagon to treat the low sugar reaction. You may need to go to the emergency room.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

Human insulin May Interact with Other Medications

Inhalation powder

Inhalable human insulin can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking inhalable human insulin can affect your blood sugar levels unpredictably. It may make them too low or too high. Avoid drinking while taking this medication.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Other drugs for diabetes
  • oral diabetic medications
  • pramlintide

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for depression
  • fluoxetine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for high blood pressure
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • enalapril
    • lisinopril
    • captopril

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

  • clonidine
  • beta blockers, such as:
    • propranolol
    • metoprolol
    • atenolol

These drugs may either increase or decrease your blood sugar when they’re taken with inhalable human insulin. You should monitor your blood sugar levels closely to see how the drug affects you. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of inhalable human insulin.

These drugs may also make it harder to spot the symptoms of low blood sugar.

Drugs for heart rate disorders
  • disopyramide

This drug may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs to treat high triglycerides
  • fibrates

This drug may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for pain
  • propoxyphene
  • salicylates

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs to treat growth problems
  • somatostatin analogs, such as:
    • octreotide

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs that thin the blood
  • pentoxifylline

This drug may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for infection
  • sulfonamide antibiotics
  • sulfamethoxazole with or without trimethoprim

These drugs may decrease your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be lowered if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for allergy or asthma
  • corticosteroids
  • epinephrine
  • albuterol
  • terbutaline

These drugs can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Oral birth control pills
  • estrogens
  • progesterone

Drugs used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections
  • protease inhibitors, such as:
    • ritonavir
    • saquinavir
    • atazanavir

These drugs can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Antipsychotics
  • olanzapine
  • clozapine
  • phenothiazine

These drugs can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for the heart or cholesterol
  • niacin
  • water pills (diuretics)

These drugs can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for tuberculosis
  • isoniazid

This drug can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Drugs for endocrine disorders
  • danazol
  • glucagon
  • somatropin
  • thyroid hormones

These drugs can increase your blood sugar. Your dose of inhalable human insulin may need to be increased if you take these drugs together.

Drugs to treat mood disorders
  • lithium salts

These drugs may either increase or decrease your blood sugar when they’re taken with inhalable human insulin. You should monitor your blood sugar levels closely to see how the drug affects you. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of inhalable human insulin.

Pentamidine

This drug can decrease your blood sugar at first, and later it can increase your blood sugar when taken with inhalable human insulin.

Heart drugs
  • guanethidine
  • reserpine

These drugs may make it harder to spot the symptoms of low blood sugar.

Other drugs that are inhaled
  • medicines for osteoporosis or high calcium levels, such as:
    • calcitonin
  • medicines for migraines, such as:
    • sumatriptan
  • medicines for asthma, such as:
    • short-acting beta agonist or corticosteroid inhalers

If you’re taking other medicines that are inhaled, you may need to take them at a different time from when you take inhalable human insulin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Human insulin Warnings
low blood sugar
People with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Inhalable human insulin can cause low blood sugar levels, so it can make your condition worse. Make sure your blood sugar levels aren’t low before you take your next dose of this drug.

diabetic ketoacidosis
People with diabetic ketoacidosis

If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar stays high and there isn’t enough insulin, your body may break down fat to get energy. In this process, your body makes chemicals called ketones. High levels of ketones poison the body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis. Taking inhalable human insulin could worsen your diabetic ketoacidosis.

heart failure
People with heart failure

Taking certain diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones (TZDs) with inhalable human insulin may make your heart failure worse. Your healthcare provider should watch you closely while you’re taking TZDs with insulin regular (human). Tell your doctor if you have any new or worse symptoms of heart failure.

lung problems
People with lung problems

Inhalable human insulin decreases your lung function. Don’t use this drug if you have lung problems, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a history of lung cancer. Don’t take this drug if you smoke or have quit smoking in the last 6 months.

kidney disease
People with kidney disease

Insulin is generally removed from your body by your kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working as well, insulin may build up in your body and cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed.

liver disease
People with liver disease

If you have liver failure, this drug may build up in your body. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed. You and your doctor should monitor your blood sugar levels very closely.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Inhalable human insulin is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are nursing

It isn’t known if inhalable human insulin passes through breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take inhalable human insulin or breastfeed.

for children
For Children

The safety and effectiveness of inhalable human insulin haven’t been established in children younger than 18 years old.

Special Kid Safety

Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Accidental inhalation can cause a low blood sugar reaction. This can be fatal if it’s not treated right away.

contact with drug
Contact with drug

Don’t share inhalable human insulin with others even if they have the same medical condition as you. It could harm them.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are sick, plan to have surgery, are under a lot of stress, or if you’ve changed your eating or exercise habits. Each of these factors can affect how much inhalable human insulin you need. Your dose may need to be adjusted. You may also need to be checked for severe complications of high blood sugar, like ketoacidosis.
  • have an infection in your lungs, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This may change how well your body absorbs inhalable human insulin. Your doctor may adjust your dose or give you another medicine temporarily.
  • have started or stopped any new medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, or supplements. Your inhalable human insulin dose may need to be adjusted.
allergies
Allergies

Inhalable human insulin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • rash all over your body
  • itching
  • trouble breathing
  • fast heart rate
  • sweating
  • feeling faint

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or any of the ingredients in the powder or inhaler. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take Human insulin (Dosage)

Inhalation powder

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Type 1 diabetes
Form: Inhalation powder
Strengths: 4 unit cartridges and 8 unit cartridges
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Mealtime starting dose:

  • If you’ve never used mealtime insulin before:
    • Start with 4 units at each meal.
  • If you were previously using an injectable mealtime insulin:
    • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how many cartridges you’ll need to match your previous dose. Refer to mealtime dose conversions below.
  • If you were previously using a pre-mixed insulin:
    • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how many cartridges you’ll need to match your previous dose.
    • Divide half of your total daily injected pre-mixed insulin dose equally among 3 meals of the day. Use that number and the mealtime dose conversions below to figure out your dose per meal.

If you’re taking a dose over 8 units per meal, you’ll need more than one cartridge at each meal. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that you’re getting the correct dosage at each meal.

Mealtime dose conversions:

If you inject:

  • up to 4 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue)
  • 5–8 units: use one 8 unit cartridge (green)
  • 9–12 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue) and one 8 unit cartridge (green)
  • 13–16 units: use two 8 unit cartridges (green)
  • 17–20 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue) and two 8 unit cartridges (green)
  • 21–24 units: use three 8 unit cartridges (green)

Mealtime dose adjustments:

  • Your doctor may adjust your dose based on your blood sugar levels, exercise habits, meal patterns, illness, and kidney and liver function.
  • If you’re on a high dose of inhalable human insulin and your blood sugar is still not controlled, your doctor may change you to an injectable insulin.
  • If you’re taking other medication to treat diabetes, your doctor may adjust your dose of inhalable human insulin.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years old.

Special Considerations
  • People with Kidney Disease: If your kidneys aren’t working as well, insulin may build up in your body and cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed.
  • People with Liver Disease: If you have liver failure, this drug may build up in your body. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed.
  • People Using Insulin Doses Higher than 8 Units per Meal: You’ll need more than one cartridge of inhalable human insulin to meet your mealtime dosing needs. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find the best combination of cartridges for you.

 Warnings

Carefully monitor blood glucose, especially if you need high doses of inhalable human insulin. If your blood glucose is not properly controlled at such high doses, talk to your doctor about adjusting your insulin therapy.

Type 2 diabetes
Form: Inhalation powder
Strengths: 4 unit cartridges and 8 unit cartridges
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Mealtime starting dose:

  • If you’ve never used mealtime insulin before:
    • Start with 4 units at each meal.
  • If you were previously using an injectable mealtime insulin:
    • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how many cartridges you’ll need to match your previous dose. Refer to mealtime dose conversions below.
  • If you were previously using a pre-mixed insulin:
    • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how many cartridges you’ll need to match your previous dose.
    • Divide half of your total daily injected pre-mixed insulin dose equally among 3 meals of the day. Use that number and the mealtime dose conversions below to figure out your dose per meal.

If you’re taking a dose over 8 units per meal, you’ll need more than one cartridge at each meal. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that you’re getting the correct dosage at each meal.

Mealtime dose conversions:

If you inject:

  • up to 4 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue)
  • 5–8 units: use one 8 unit cartridge (green)
  • 9–12 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue) and one 8 unit cartridge (green)
  • 13–16 units: use two 8 unit cartridges (green)
  • 17–20 units: use one 4 unit cartridge (blue) and two 8 unit cartridges (green)
  • 21–24 units: use three 8 unit cartridges (green)

Mealtime dose adjustments:

  • Your doctor may adjust your dose based on your blood sugar levels, exercise habits, meal patterns, illness, and kidney and liver function.
  • If you’re on a high dose of inhalable human insulin and your blood sugar is still not controlled, your doctor may change you to an injectable insulin.
  • If you’re taking other medication to treat diabetes, your doctor may adjust your dose of inhalable human insulin.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years old.

Special Considerations
  • People with Kidney Disease: If your kidneys aren’t working as well, insulin may build up in your body and cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed.
  • People with Liver Disease: If you have liver failure, this drug may build up in your body. Your doctor may start you at a lower dose and slowly increase your dose if needed.
  • People Using Insulin Doses Higher than 8 Units per Meal: You’ll need more than one cartridge of inhalable human insulin to meet your mealtime dosing needs. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find the best combination of cartridges for you.

 Warnings

Carefully monitor blood glucose, especially if you need high doses of inhalable human insulin. If your blood glucose is not properly controlled at such high doses, talk to your doctor about adjusting your insulin therapy.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Inhalable human insulin comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It at All

If you don’t take it at all, your blood sugar may increase.

If You Skip or Miss Doses

If you skip or miss a dose, check your blood sugar and take it as soon as you remember, especially if your blood sugar is above your target range. If it’s within 3 hours of your next meal, wait to take your next dose. You may have to increase that dose.

If You Take Too Much

Taking too much of this drug can cause very low blood sugar and low potassium levels. If you think that you’ve taken too much inhalable human insulin, call your doctor right away.

Symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • shakiness
  • hunger
  • fast heart rate
  • tingling lips and tongue
  • confusion
  • blurry vision
  • slurred speech
  • anxiety
  • headaches

You can treat mild low blood sugar by eating 3–4 glucose tablets or 5–7 pieces of candy, or by drinking ½ cup of fruit juice or regular (not diet) soda, or 1 cup of fat-free milk.

If you feel like passing out due to very low blood sugar, call 9-1-1, or have someone take you to the emergency room right away. You’ll need to be treated with a glucagon injection, or you’ll need to be treated at the hospital.

Low blood potassium will need to be treated by your doctor.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, check your blood sugar and take it as soon as you remember, especially if your blood sugar is above your target range. If it’s within 3 hours of your next meal, wait to take your next dose. You may have to increase that dose.

Never try to catch up by inhaling two doses at once. This could result in a severe low blood sugar reaction.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell if the drug is working if your blood sugar is lower. Your symptoms of high blood sugar, such as feeling very hungry or thirsty or urinating often, may also decrease.

Inhalable human insulin is a long-term drug treatment.

Important Considerations for Taking Human insulin

In order for inhalable human insulin to work as it should, store it correctly

Unopened insulin:

  • Store all unopened cartridges in their original box in the refrigerator from 36–46°F (2–8°C).
  • Keep insulin protected from light.
  • Don’t freeze it. Don’t use inhalable human insulin if it’s been frozen.
  • Each package contains foil-wrapped packages of 2 blister cards that are perforated into strips. If the foil package isn’t refrigerated, you must use the inhalable human insulin in that package within 10 days.
  • Don’t use the drug after the expiration date on the box or cartridge.

Inhaler:

  • You can use your inhaler for up to 15 days. After 15 days, you have to throw away your inhalable human insulin inhaler and open a new one.

Inhalable human insulin that’s being used:

  • Unopened strips: store at room temperature below 78°F (25°C) for up to 10 days. Throw the strips out after 10 days even if there’s insulin left.
  • Opened strips: store at room temperature below 78°F (25°C)  for up to 3 days. Throw out the strips after 3 days even if there’s insulin left.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • This medication needs to be refrigerated. You may need to use an insulated bag with a cold pack to maintain the temperature.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.
  • You can travel with your medication at temperatures from 59–86°F (15–30°C) for short periods of time if you can’t refrigerate it.

Self-Management

Your healthcare provider will teach you how to:

  • load and use your insulin inhaler
  • test your blood sugar using a blood glucose monitor
  • recognize and treat low and high blood sugar reactions

While using inhalable human insulin, you’ll need to regularly test your blood sugar levels. To do this, you’ll need the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood glucose test strips
  • blood glucose monitor
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

Before inhaling this drug, the cartridge should be at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may do tests before you begin and during treatment with inhalable human insulin to make sure it’s safe for you to take. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of this drug based on following:

  • lung function. Your doctor should check how your lungs are working before you start using this drug, 6 months after you start taking this drug, and once per year after that.
  • blood sugar level
  • glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) levels. This test measures your blood sugar control over the last 2–3 months.
  • liver function
  • kidney function
  • blood potassium levels
  • levels of ketones in your urine or blood
  • other medications that you’re taking
  • exercise
  • diet

Your doctor may do other tests to check for complications of diabetes:

  • eye exam at least once per year
  • foot exam at least once per year
  • dental exam at least once per year
  • tests for nerve damage
  • cholesterol levels
  • blood pressure and heart rate

Hidden Costs

You’ll need to purchase the following to test your blood sugar:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • lancing device and lancets (a needle used to obtain drops of blood from your finger to test your blood sugar)
  • blood glucose test strips
  • blood glucose monitor
  • needle container for safe disposal of lancets

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for inhalable human insulin.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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