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New Inhaler Could Replace Shots For Diabetics

Update Date: Aug 15, 2013 10:14 AM EDT

For people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, needles are often the norm because the only option they have for their medical condition is in a needle form. Since needles can be painful and frightening, some drug manufacturers have been trying to find alternative treatments that would not involve these sharp and prickly items. According to MannKind Corp, the company believes that it has found that alternative option.

MannKind Corp has announced positive results from its most recent trial, Study 171, which is a Phase 3 clinical study of AFREZZA-Gen2. AFREZZA-Gen2 is an inhaler, which is the size of a whistle that contains a powdered form of insulin. Ideally, the AFREZZA-Gen2 would provide the same amount of insulin as the needle option with the same level of efficiency. In this study, the trial recruited 518 patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who were already on basal/bolus insulin therapy. The participants were being studied from four different sites, which included the United States, Brazil, Russia and the Ukraine.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups, each one lasting 24 weeks. The first group was composed of 170 patients who were on insulin therapy involving subcutaneous insulin aspart and basal insulin. The second group of 174 patients was switched to AFREZZA using a Gen2 inhaler, also known as Dreamboat along with basal insulin. The last group with 174 patients also switched to AFREZZA that was administered with the MedTone inhaler in combination with basal insulin.

After the treatment period, the researchers noted that the inhalers were indeed effective in reducing fasting blood glucose levels. There were also fewer hypoglycemia events, which is a side effect that diabetics can experience when they take insulin in which their blood sugar levels fall drastically. The researchers also found that patients using the Gen2 inhaler lost more weight. However, similarly to the effects of all inhalers, the researchers noted that people taking AFREZZA-Gen2 experienced a decrease in FEV1, which meant that their lung function was slightly negatively affected. Cough was the most common side effect with 30.5 percent of the AFREZZA-Gen2 group reported suffering from it. 20.8 percent of the MedTone group had a cough while no one from the insulin aspart group did.

The company announced that the results were inline with their goals and hope that AFREZZA-Gen2 could be an option for diabetics within the next few years.

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