Exubera Blows It

| Oct 31, 2007

Exubera, the inhalable insulin, has been, to speak bluntly, a real bomb. Pretty much the entire diabetic population can say with honesty that they never inhaled.

Now Pfizer, the drug's manufacturer, has taken a deep breath, closed down the Indiana plant where Exubera was made, said goodbye to $2.8 billion dollars, and placed about 700 workers on paid leave.

The company is returning its Exubera rights to Nektar, its partner in the Exubera debacle, and will work with doctors over the next three months to switch Exubera patients to other diabetes treatments.

As far as another inhalable insulin? Don't hold your breath. Way back in June of 1998, Diabetes Health editor-in-chief Scott King told the Wall Street Journal, "I don't think anyone understands the lungs enough to use them as another pathway to take medicine, except maybe with a lung condition like asthma. I'd be very cautious and see how Phase II and Phase III come out." Apparently he was right.

Source: Forbes; Reuters, October 2007

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Categories: Asthma, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Professional Issues, Type 1 Issues


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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 1 November 2007

Well I liked Exhubera, it was big, but those 3mg packs were great when you needed a quick puff, as a compliment to humalog pens, etc.. I thought they worked great, I cleaned out CVS of their last supplies.

Posted by Florian on 1 November 2007

As Exubera leaves the Marketplace another new insulin delivery system enters in India. Generex Biotechnology just received approval to sell it's oral insulin called Oral-lyn in India. This should be a big hit in India a country with almost 41 million people with Diabetes.

Posted by Anonymous on 2 November 2007

I was curious about the Exubera. Glad I didn't pursue it. That didn't take long to go belly up huh? I was diagnosed in June and the thought of taking insulin without injection sounds appealing. I'm curious about the post here about Oralyn. Never heard of that. Have to do some Google searches.

Posted by Anonymous on 2 November 2007

All type I's and most type II's on insulin (like myself) need a basal insulin as well as a bolus. If you are already injecting the "Lantus" then it's not that much more effort to inject the "Humalog." Now if they would have made a long acting insulin like Lantus or Levemir in the inhaler and gave it earlier in the treatment of Type II's that are destined for insulin anyway, it could have been a big hit. The action curves of Exubera were interesting-- Humalog like onset but with the duration of natural human insulin. Still the delivery device was totally ridiculous to anyone needing bolus doses. The technology was thought through but not the application.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 November 2007

Geesh, that big bulky inhaler looks annoying. Just take the shot. It's so much eaiser. What's the big deal? I take 5 a day.

Posted by Anonymous on 9 November 2007

I agree completely with anonymous of Nov 2 & 4. Why are we still spending so much money researching products just to avoid injections?? Spend this money on prevention of complications etc. We inject babies with vaccines every day to prevent potentially deadly diseases. No Mom likes to put her baby thru this but we do it because it's beneficial in the long run--why can't we be the same way about insulin injections?? I got Type 1 at age 29 and was never given the option of NOT injecting so I just forced myself to do it...once the first injection is done it really is NOT difficult. I was fortunate to have a nurse educator who told me truthfully, "If you do it correctly it really does not hurt. The first time you put your contact lenses in it was difficult but you really needed them to see so now you put them in every morning without thinking twice-it really will be the same with the injections." I now take from 3 to 5 per day. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?! With the tiny needles we have today, insulin injections ARE painless. I think many patients are never told that the needles used for insulin are VERY much smaller than the needle that was just used for their flu shot (which IS painful!). As long as health care professionals keep presenting insulin injections as some sort of evil presence a patient's response will be fear. Be completely honest with your patients please--start insulin sooner in Type 2s and stop playing these silly games about needles!!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 15 November 2007

Must be nice to be diagnosed at 29! I am 32 and have bene injecting since I was 8. My point is there is another option to injections, an inhaled insulin. No matter how small the needle, it is still a needle!

Posted by bdebruler on 29 November 2007

The problem with Exubera, apart from the "insulin bong" delivery device, is that it offers nothing in the area of improved blood glucose control. Nothing beats the pump... at least until I can have new beta cells.


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