Exubera can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The drug works by providing insulin, which helps the body remove sugar from the blood. It comes in blister packets that contain the powder, which is then taken using an inhaler. The prescribed dose should be taken within 10 minutes before a meal. Possible side effects include coughing and respiratory tract infections.
What Is Exubera?
Exubera® (inhaled insulin) is a prescription medication licensed to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. Unlike other forms of insulin that need to be injected, Exubera is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth. It is a short-acting, or rapid-acting, insulin that is used before meals. Exubera will not replace long-acting insulin.
Note: In October 2007, Pfizer announced it will stop making Exubera. This decision was voluntary and was not based on any safety concern; Pfizer states that Exubera has not met its expectations in terms of sales. Starting in October 2007, Exubera will be available for an additional three months, which will give people enough time to change from Exubera to another type of insulin or other diabetes medication.
Exubera contains a manufactured version of insulin that is exactly like the insulin produced by the human body. All people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes do not make enough (or do not make any) insulin. Insulin is necessary to help remove sugar (glucose) from the blood to produce energy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot be removed from the blood, which causes high blood sugar.
Exubera provides insulin for the body, which helps to lower blood sugar. It works quickly to help the body remove glucose from the blood after meals. People with type 1 diabetes will need to take a longer-acting insulin in addition to Exubera to help control blood sugar in between meals. People with type 2 diabetes can use Exubera alone or in combination with oral diabetes drugs or longer-acting insulins.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Exubera [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2006 May.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 22, 2007.
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