Inhaled Insulin

For a number of people faced with type 2 diabetes, there may come a point in time when insulin therapytype 1 and type 2 diabetes. Afrezza is a rapid acting, inhaled insulin, delivered from a portable inhaler. It is currently the only inhaled insulin available by prescription in the United States.

Rapid acting insulin should be to be taken at the start of a meal. It works to lower post meal blood sugars by covering the carbohydrates consumed and helping to bring a blood sugar that is elevated before a meal back into a target range. Rapid acting insulin can also be given as an injection. The three rapid acting insulin injection options currently available include Novolog, Humalog and Apidra.

What else do I need to know?

Who makes Afrezza?

  • Afrezza is made by MannKind Corporation and sold by Sanofi

Who may benefit from taking Afrezza?

  • Individuals not meeting A1c goals despite using oral medications or other injectable medications
  • Individuals with blood sugars that are consistently above 180 mg/dL one to two hours after finishing a meal
  • Individuals with a significant needle phobia
  • Talk with your doctor to see if Afrezza may help improve your diabetes management

When do I take Afrezza?

  • At the start of a meal

How long does Afrezza take to start working?

  • Afrezza is absorbed rapidly from the lungs into the blood stream
  • Peak insulin levels occur within 12-15 minutes of administration

How much do I take?

  • Your doctor will calculate a starting dose for you
  • Afrezza is available in four and eight unit single dose cartridges. Multiples of this can be taken as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Cartridges are placed into a disposable inhaler that can be used for up to 15 days.

Most Common Side effects:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Throat pain/irritation and cough


  • Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Current smokers or a recent history of smoking (quit less than 6 months ago)

Do I still need to take my long acting insulin?

  • Afrezza is a rapid acting insulin and does not take the place of long acting insulin such as Lantus and Levemir
  • Discuss with your doctor how starting Afrezza will affect dosages of other diabetes medication you are taking.

How can I learn more?

What other medications may help improve post meal blood sugars?

Oral medications:

  • Meglintinides
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
  • DDP-4 Inhibitors

Injectable medications:

  • GLP-1 agonists
  • Amylin Analog


  • Injectable rapid acting insulin: Apidra, Humalog, Novolog

To learn more first the treatment overview.

Are you currently taking Afrezza? Please share your story with the Type 2 Diabetes Community.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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