The FDA has approved a new system for taking insulin, potentially offering diabetes sufferers an new alternative to injection. Afrezza allows patients to inhale the medication through a pocket-sized device, the New York Times reports. It's not the first inhalation insulin; Pfizer's Exubera went off the market after poor sales. But Exubera's inhaler was much larger; the Times compares it to a "tennis-ball can."
Still, experts have expressed concerns about the safety of Afrezza, which has twice been rejected by the FDA. Its box warns that sufferers from lung diseases like asthma shouldn't take the drug, nor should smokers. The product, from MannKind Corporation, won't be widely available until the company finds a marketing partner, its CFO says. Los Angeles inventor Alfred Mann, 88, has spent almost $1 billion on developing the product, the Los Angeles Times notes. But "I have never considered abandoning the effort," he says. "I firmly believe that Afrezza has the potential to bring significant benefits to the still growing and enormous population of people with diabetes."