JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is advising adults living with diabetes of the benefits of inhaling insulin close to, or even during, meal times.
The medication, with the brand name Afrezza, is a fast-acting insulin that complements other ways of introducing the hormone into the body.
Afrezza was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014. It is prescribed only to individuals over 18.
JDRF is supportive of the medication, which can reduce considerably the number of injections insulin-dependent adults need daily.
Sanjoy Dutta, an assistant vice president at JDRF who specializes in research and international partnerships, said Afrezza is a product "very close to our hearts" because those with diabetes always need more options.
While there have been advances and improvements in medications dealing with diabetes, injections have been used for 95 years, Dutta noted.
"So Afrezza has advantages and we support, believe in [it]," Dutta told Patient Daily. "It is a very fast-acting insulin that can manage the meal-time high."
The inhaled insulin can be taken just prior to a meal or, if someone forgets, during and even after one.
An injection often lasts long after a meal is consumed, beyond the point when the insulin is needed.
While most insulin-dependent individuals either have no issue with needles or have overcome their fears, inhaled insulin has the advantage of reducing the number of injections, Dutta said. Instead of injecting four or five times a day, it is possible only one shot would be needed, he added.
Many insulin-dependent people use an insulin pump, which is designed to regulate and regularly introduce insulin into the body. But some people do not like to be tethered to a device on their body, and there are other challenges in maintaining a pump.
In addition, the Associated Press reported in November that insulin pumps and their components were the subject of more reports to the FDA about malfunction, injury and death than other medical devices.
And even for those using the pump, inhaled insulin can act as a complement to make the glucose control better, Dutta said.