Federal regulators Friday approved the first inhaled insulin treatment, offering millions of diabetics a chance to ease the grueling ritual of repeated daily injections.
Called Exubera, the drug allows patients to control their blood-sugar levels by inhaling a fine insulin powder through a flashlight-size device. The drug, to be marketed by Pfizer Inc., could reduce or eliminate the need for before-meal insulin shots.
Despite the inhaler’s large size and some concerns about the safety of the drug, which causes a slight decrease in patients’ breathing capacity, Exubera could change the way diabetes is treated.
“Being able to inhale something, if it works, would make life so much easier,” said 45-year-old Laurie Dreyer Hadley of Roseville, Calif., who wasn’t bothered by the inhaler’s size. “I have the world’s biggest purse to carry my insulin supplies.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved Exubera only for adults with diabetes. Pfizer plans to conduct a three-year study on children.
It’s also been approved for use within Europe, making it one of the few synchronous approvals of a new drug in both America and Europe. Let’s hope that the safety concerns are ironed out and this can be marketed to children soon: although it’s great that adults will have to undergo less painful objections, we think everyone would like to save kids as many tears as possible by minimizing the necessity for jabbing them with sharp needles on a daily basis. Better yet, let’s make this in Flintstone form as soon as possible, Pfizer!