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Effects of Exubera

Several studies have looked at the effects of this medication for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, particularly its effects on hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose.
Exubera and Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test used to measure long-term blood sugar control. For people without diabetes, HbA1c results are usually less than 6 percent, while people with diabetes usually have higher levels. People who have better control over blood sugar have lower HbA1c levels. In one study of people with type 2 diabetes taking Exubera, HbA1c levels dropped by 4 percent, while people taking oral medications for diabetes decreased their HbA1c levels by only 0.2 percent. In studies of Exubera for type 1 diabetes, people taking the drug and people taking regular injectable insulin showed similar decreases in HbA1c levels.
Exubera and Fasting Blood Glucose
Fasting blood glucose (blood sugar levels before a meal) are another good way to evaluate diabetes medications. Exubera has been shown to lower fasting blood glucose more than oral diabetes medications (in people with type 2 diabetes) or regular injectable insulin (in people with type 1 diabetes).

When and How to Take It

General considerations for when and how to take Exubera include the following:
  • Exubera comes in blister packets that contain a powder. These packets must be used in the inhaler.
  • Several steps are involved in using the Exubera inhaler. Your inhaler will come with detailed instructions. Make sure that your healthcare provider shows you exactly how to use the inhaler.
  • You will inhale the Exubera powder into your lungs by breathing it in with a normal breath and then holding your breath for five seconds.
  • This medication works quickly; you should inhale it within 10 minutes before a meal. Using the drug more than 10 minutes before a meal could increase your chance of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If you skip a meal, you should also skip that Exubera dose.
  • You may need to use more than one blister packet in order to get the right dose. However, three 1-mg blisters do not equal one 3-mg blister (in studies, people who used three 1-mg blisters absorbed more insulin than people who used one 3-mg blister). Unfortunately, Exubera comes in packages with both 1-mg and 3-mg blisters (you cannot buy them separately at this time), and you may have extra blisters that you cannot use.
  • For Exubera to work properly, it must be used as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.
Diabetes Tips for Seniors

Exubera Drug Information

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