Danica the Diabetic on Why She Uses Afrezza® Inhaled Insulin

Danica Collins - Danica the Diabetic

Hello, my name is Danica and I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years. Despite the challenges, I am a Duke-trained health and well-being coach, food enthusiast, and avid traveler. I believe that diabetes management should not be a hindrance to living a fulfilling life. It requires modifications and moderation, but I don’t let it limit me.

Please see full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide, including BOXED WARNING on Afrezza.com/safety. AFREZZA (insulin human) Inhalation Powder is a man-made insulin that is breathed in through your lungs (inhaled) and is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes mellitus. AFREZZA must be used with basal insulin in people who have type 1 diabetes mellitus. Please read additional Important Safety Information below.

Managing diabetes can be challenging, and as someone who is always looking for new solutions, I am eager to try out therapies that can improve my quality of life. Unfortunately, I have had difficulties with insulin absorption and scarring, which has made finding the right insulin a challenge. When I was initially misdiagnosed with an allergy to insulin lispro, I did my research and discovered Afrezza as my mealtime insulin. I consulted my endocrinologist, completed a breathing test and training, and began using Afrezza in 2018. I have found it to be an effective option for my mealtime diabetes management.

On Afrezza® Inhaled Mealtime Insulin

As technology continues to advance, so does the medical field. The development of inhaled insulin has brought about a few benefits for me as someone living with type 1 diabetes. Afrezza Inhaled Insulin is a rapid-acting insulin that has the potential to revolutionize the way insulin is taken by patients. Its convenience and portability have brought about a level of lifestyle flexibility I haven’t seen before in diabetic treatments. This therapy helps me to have control of my glucose levels while still maintaining my daily routines and unplanned days. The inhaler device makes it convenient to use, and the fact that it’s rapid-acting helps make dosing times manageable. As someone who was previously on multiple daily injection regimens and an insulin pump, this inhaled insulin reduces the number of necessary injections for me, and offers a discreet solution to treating my insulin dependency. For me, there is less of a need for meal planning with the use of Afrezza, making it convenient to manage my blood sugar levels. I take Afrezza at the beginning of my meals and snacks, and it closely mimics the body’s natural insulin response.

AFREZZA can cause serious side effects, including: Sudden lung problems (bronchospasms). Do not use AFREZZA if you have long-term (chronic) lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Afrezza is not recommended for people who smoke or have recently stopped smoking. Afrezza is not for use to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

Afrezza Inhaled Insulin Provides Me Mealtime Flexibility

As a type 1 diabetic, managing blood sugar levels can be a constant challenge. That’s why the introduction of new types of insulin, like Afrezza inhaled insulin, has been another helpful tool in my diabetes toolbox. Afrezza offers people with diabetes a rapid-acting insulin that’s inhaled rather than injected, providing flexibility and convenience in daily blood sugar management. Afrezza is taken right at the beginning of a meal instead of minutes or even hours in advance, which can be helpful for me as a type 1 diabetic whose insulin needs can vary significantly from day to day. The added lifestyle flexibility that Afrezza inhaled insulin provides could also help ease the burden on people whose busy lives make it harder to keep a consistent schedule.

Afrezza Has Rapid Onset and Short Duration Time

Type 1 diabetics rely on insulin to manage their blood sugar levels. Traditionally, insulin has been administered through injections or insulin pumps. However, the introduction of rapid-acting inhaled insulin is the only currently FDA-approved inhaled insulin. Afrezza inhaled insulin allows for short onset and duration times: it’s in the blood within ~1 minute, starts lowering blood sugar in ~12 minutes, and is out of the body within 1.5-3 hours, depending on the dose (for the 4- and 12-unit cartridges respectively). For me, this means I can have control over my blood sugar levels during mealtime and enjoy some flexibility with the convenience that Afrezza provides.

Reduced Scar Tissue and Insulin Absorption Issues

While I use a long-acting insulin for my basal needs, having an inhaled insulin therapy option has allowed me to prevent painful infusion sites or unpredictable insulin absorption levels from injectable insulin. With the initiation of Afrezza, I have experienced a marked improvement in the health of my skin, by reducing the occurrence of scar tissue complications.

Inhale, Exhale, and Sometimes Cough

Being able to inhale my insulin is an experience that I just had to try. It took me a few attempts to get the hang of the proper inhalation technique, but once I did, it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Of course, there were a few moments when I coughed after inhaling. But that was a side effect that I handled with a sip of water. Although occasional coughing is a known side effect, I have found that allowing it to run its course, hydrating, and continuing with my healthcare regimen is sufficient to overcome this hurdle. Regular monitoring of my lung function through the FEV1 test is an integral component of my endocrinology check-ups, ensuring that my lungs remain in good health while using Afrezza.

With Afrezza, I Can Adjust My Insulin Intake to Accommodate Changes in My Daily Routine

As a frequent traveler and type 1 diabetic patient, I rely on Afrezza to adjust my insulin intake in response to changes in my daily routine. The key advantage of utilizing Afrezza lies in its flexibility. With Afrezza, I can administer insulin at the beginning of a meal, empowering me to tailor my treatment to my dietary needs. This precision-based approach facilitates optimal blood sugar management, and that is a daily goal for me.

The Inhaler Is Discreet and Portable, Making It Good to Use On-the-Go

While I’m using Afrezza, I have less bulky diabetes management tools to carry with me daily or wear on my body. I can discreetly administer insulin with a small and sleek inhaler. The inhaler and cartridges can even fit into a bag or even a pocket, allowing me to take my insulin discreetly and with flexibility.

In Summary

In conclusion, using Afrezza inhaled insulin has added flexibility to my daily mealtime blood sugar management. The ability to minimize injections benefitted me while I was struggling with injection sites. As always, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment approach for your individual needs. With the availability of this inhaled insulin option, it’s exciting to see the increasing range of choices that potentially exist for those managing diabetes.

Danica Collins is a paid spokesperson for MannKind Corp. but the thoughts and opinions contained in this article are her own.

To connect with Danica, you can find her online here:


Additional Resources:

Inhaled Insulin Afrezza: An Underutilized Treatment in the Type 2 Toolbox

How and Why I Use Inhaled Insulin Afrezza

Hiking Essentials for Adventure Bound T1Ds


Important Safety Information

What is the most important information I should know about AFREZZA?

AFREZZA can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Sudden lung problems (bronchospasms). In a study, some AFREZZA-treated patients with asthma, whose asthma medication was temporarily withheld, experienced sudden lung problems. Do not use AFREZZA if you have long-term (chronic) lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Before starting AFREZZA, your healthcare provider will give you a breathing test to check how your lungs are working.

What is AFREZZA?

  • AFREZZA is a man-made insulin that is breathed-in through your lungs (inhaled) and is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes mellitus.
  • AFREZZA is not for use to treat diabetic ketoacidosis. AFREZZA must be used with basal insulin in people who have type 1 diabetes mellitus.
  • It is not known if AFREZZA is safe and effective for use in people who smoke. AFREZZA is not for use in people who smoke or have recently stopped smoking (less than 6 months).
  • It is not known if AFREZZA is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.

Who should not use AFREZZA?

Do not use AFREZZA if you:

  • Have chronic lung problems such as asthma or COPD.
  • Are allergic to regular human insulin or any of the ingredients in AFREZZA.
  • Are having an episode of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

What should I tell my healthcare provider before using AFREZZA?

Before using AFREZZA, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have lung problems such as asthma or COPD
  • Have or have had lung cancer
  • Are using any inhaled medications
  • Smoke or have recently stopped smoking
  • Have kidney or liver problems
  • Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. AFREZZA may harm your unborn or breastfeeding baby.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or herbal supplements.

Before you start using AFREZZA, talk to your healthcare provider about low blood sugar and how to manage it.

What should I avoid while using AFREZZA?

While using AFREZZA do not:

  • Drive or operate heavy machinery, until you know how AFREZZA affects you
  • Drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicines that contain alcohol
  • Smoke

What are the possible side effects of AFREZZA?

AFREZZA may cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

See “What is the most important information I should know about AFREZZA?”

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Signs and symptoms that may indicate low blood sugar include:

  • Dizziness or light-headedness, sweating, confusion, headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, shakiness, fast heartbeat, anxiety, irritability or mood change, hunger.

Decreased lung function. Your healthcare provider should check how your lungs are working before you start using AFREZZA, 6 months after you start using it, and yearly after that.

Lung cancer. In studies of AFREZZA in people with diabetes, lung cancer occurred in a few more people who were taking AFREZZA than in people who were taking other diabetes medications. There were too few cases to know if lung cancer was related to AFREZZA. If you have lung cancer, you and your healthcare provider should decide if you should use AFREZZA.

Diabetic ketoacidosis. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have an illness. Your AFREZZA dose or how often you check your blood sugar may need to be changed.

Severe allergic reaction (whole body reaction). Get medical help right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:

  • A rash over your whole body, trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat, or sweating.

Low potassium in your blood (hypokalemia).

Heart failure. Taking certain diabetes pills called thiazolidinediones or “TZDs” with AFREZZA may cause heart failure in some people. This can happen even if you have never had heart failure or heart problems before. If you already have heart failure it may get worse while you take TZDs with AFREZZA. Your healthcare provider should monitor you closely while you are taking TZDs with AFREZZA. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new or worse symptoms of heart failure including:

  • Shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles or feet, sudden weight gain.

Treatment with TZDs and AFREZZA may need to be changed or stopped by your healthcare provider if you have new or worse heart failure.

Get emergency medical help if you have:

  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, sweating, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, confusion.

The most common side effects of AFREZZA include:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), cough, sore throat.

These are not all the possible side effects of AFREZZA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088).

Please See Full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING, Medication Guide and Instructions for Use at Afrezza.com/safety.

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