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Inhaled Insulin Dosage

Your inhaled insulin dosage may be determined by counting carbohydrates or by your body weight. Your healthcare provider will also consider whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, other medical conditions, or are taking other medications. Because the medication acts rapidly, you should take your inhaled insulin dosage 10 minutes before a meal. Taking it more than 10 minutes before a meal could increase your chance of low blood sugar.

Inhaled Insulin Dosage: An Overview

The dosage of inhaled insulin (Exubera®) that your healthcare provider prescribes will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you are currently taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you do to so.
Note: In October 2007, Pfizer announced it will stop making inhaled insulin. This decision was voluntary and was not based on any safety concern; Pfizer states that their inhaled insulin product (Exubera) has not met its expectations in terms of sales. Starting in October 2007, it will be available for an additional three months, which will give people enough time to change from inhaled insulin to another type of insulin or other diabetes medication.

Inhaled Insulin Dosage for Diabetes

As with all insulins, your dose will need to be adjusted for your particular situation. There are several ways to dose short-acting (rapid-acting) insulins. Many people count carbohydrates to adjust their insulin dose. You and your healthcare provider will decide the way that is best for you. The following table outlines estimates of the recommended starting inhaled insulin dosages (based on body weight).
Starting Inhaled Insulin Dose
66 to 87 pounds
1 mg per meal
One 1-mg blister
88 to 132 pounds
2 mg per meal
Two 1-mg blisters
133 to 176 pounds
3 mg per meal
One 3-mg blister
177 to 220 pounds
4 mg per meal
One 1-mg blister plus one 3-mg blister
221 to 264 pounds
5 mg per meal
Two 1-mg blisters plus one 3-mg blister
265 to 308 pounds
6 mg per meal
Two 3-mg blisters



For people who are switching from short-acting, injectable insulin, the starting inhaled insulin dosage can be calculated based on the previous insulin dose. The 3-mg blister is approximately equal to 8 units of regular insulin, and the 1-mg blister is approximately equal to 3 units of regular insulin. It is important to note that three of the 1-mg blisters do not equal one of the 3-mg blisters.
At this time, the 1-mg and 3-mg blisters cannot be purchased separately (they will come in a pack together). You need to use them in such a way that you use the minimum number of blisters as possible per dose. Remember: Three 1-mg blisters are not equal to one 3-mg blister. In studies, people absorbed more insulin when using three 1-mg blisters rather than one 3-mg blister. If you run out of 3-mg blisters (or if they become temporarily unavailable), use two 1-mg blisters in place of one 3-mg blister until more 3-mg blisters can be obtained. Unfortunately, many people will end up with blisters that they cannot use because the two strengths cannot be purchased separately.
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Inhaled Insulin (Exubera)

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