Local diabetic swears by breakthrough drug

BUFFALO, N.Y.(WIVB)- These days, all Eric Fenar needs to do to regulate his blood sugar, is breathe.

The type one diabetic is using a new treatment for diabetes called Afrezza. Since Feb. 4, he’s been inhaling his insulin instead of injecting it.

Fenar researched the drug for months before the FDA gave it the green light in 2013.

When it was finally on the market, he was at the front of the line.

“When Afrezza finally became available to the public, I had doctors appointments set up every single week for a month out, because the day it became available I wanted to be one of the first,” he told News 4.

In fact, he was the second person in the U.S. to try the drug.

Fenar's Twitter, showing his blood sugar progress after using Afrezza
Fenar’s Twitter, showing his blood sugar progress after using Afrezza

Since he’s been on Afrezza, his average blood sugar has dropped from 190 to 143, which is near the pre-diabetic range; a place Fenar never thought he’d be.

“There were times when my blood sugar would be 200-300, and you’re sitting there, and you’re just like ugh. When you have a high blood sugar, you just, your vision gets blurry, you’re drinking, you’re urinating a lot, you just feel yucky,” he said.

But since February, he hasn’t had a blood sugar spike and told News 4 he’s never felt better.

Afrezza is still new to the market; it’s not recommended for kids or anyone with asthma.

And because it’s so new, it’s not cheap and isn’t covered under Medicaid.

So could it be the new way to manage diabetes? Many in the medical community are approaching with caution.

“It’s tough to say because it is not necessarily going to replace using insulin in general, it is just making it a much easier dosage–a much easier form for the patients to be able to use,” said pharmacist Anthony Alter.

For a lot of people, the big draw to Afrezza is ditching the needles, but for Fenar, it’s how much faster it works.

“The old insulin, like I said was 45-60 minutes. This starts to work in 12 to 15,” he said.

And Fenar hasn’t been shy about sharing his positive experience. He’s jumped online to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, getting in touch with diabetics all around the globe, trying to spread the word.

“I think there’s only maybe like 2,000 of us in the U.S. currently on Afrezza. Everytime I talk to diabetics, and I talk to a lot of diabetics, they’ve never heard of Afrezza. So I’m hoping to change that,” Fenar said.

For more information on Afrezza, click here.

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