Inhaled Insulin: A Clinical and Historical Review
Insulin is the most effective blood glucose lowering agent and remains one of the cornerstones of diabetes management. However, many individuals with diabetes are either reluctant to initiate or are nonadherent to their insulin therapy for various reasons, including fear of frequent injections. Technosphere Insulin (TI) is a novel inhaled insulin powder that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the management of diabetes. The results from 2 phase III clinical trials have shown that TI was noninferior to subcutaneous insulin aspart and superior to inhaled placebo in lowering HbA1c in patients with diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2, respectively. Across both studies, TI appears to be generally well tolerated, with the most common adverse events being hypoglycemia and cough. However, long-term pulmonary safety concerns have not been addressed and additional studies are needed. Overall, TI appears to be a promising noninvasive prandial insulin alternative for individuals with diabetes who are at risk for medication nonadherence due to aversion to frequent injections. This article provides a review of the historical development of TI, its safety and efficacy data, and its advantages and disadvantages over traditional injectable insulins.