New treatment for diabetes

Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 23:32:26-05

Michael Swisdak was diagnosed with diabetes around 1990. Like many others, he followed the classic treatment - for years he took shots to manage his insulin but it wasn’t very convenient.

“I did a lot of traveling with my job, a lot of it overseas, and with diabetes it means you have to plan ahead, you have to take your insulin and keep it chilled,” Swisdak said.

But life changed for Michael when his doctor introduced him to an inhaled human insulin powder. It’s called Afrezza, an FDA approved inhaled insulin, helping to control blood sugar in adults with diabetes during mealtime.

“Now I don't have to excuse myself to take a shot of insulin, I can just use my inhaler right at the table. It’s like a small asthma inhaler,” he said.

Dr. Philip Levin, of Bay West Endocrinology Associates, said patients are embracing the treatment.

“It’s only been out for the last year or so and it’s just sort of gaining more widespread knowledge,” he said.

Dr. Levin said compliance often increases with something so easy to use.

“In addition it’s very fast acting. So for some patients other insulin took too long to kick in, this works essentially right away," he said.

As for Swisdak, his insurance covers it, but it’s still more expensive. Although, he says it’s worth it.

“I would absolutely recommend this. For me it’s perfect. It’s not for everyone. Talk to your endocrinologist, your family doctor, get the information, and then decide for yourself,” Swisdak said.

Dr. Levin said he wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. The FDA specifically said if you have asthma, bad lung disease, or you’re an active smoker, then it’s not for you.

It has also not yet been approved for children or pregnant women.

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