An old concept, nasal inhalation of powdered pharmaceuticals, has now reached clinical trials for both insulin and glucagon in powdered form for people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  Over the past decade, two primary disadvantages of nasal inhalation of powdered compounds viz., nasal mucosal irritation and delivery of accurate metered doses appear to have been overcome with modern technology. Highly efficient delivery systems are now available that can accurately deliver metered doses of powder into the nasal cavity.


Recent studies suggest that insulin is better absorbed and with less irritation of the nasal mucosa when administered as a powder rather than as a liquid spray. The same can be said of glucagon. 


Mannkind corp. in Valencia CA has developed and is marketing in conjunction with Sanofi a French healthcare company, Afrezza, an inhaled insulin in powder form. It is an ultra rapid-acting mealtime insulin therapy (inhaled through the mouth using a mechanical mouth inhaler) developed to improve glycemic control in adults with diabetes. Initial clinical results note a reduction in HbA1C, reduced instances of hypoglycemia and less weight gain when powdered insulin is used.