The U.S. government has approved the first-ever inhaled insulin, calling it a possible alternative for millions of diabetics who must inject the hormone.
The Food and Drug Administration says the insulin is in powdered form and will be marketed as Exubera.
It says the inhaled method is the first new insulin delivery option since the discovery of insulin more than eight decades ago.
The agency says more than five million Americans take insulin injections for diabetes, a disease that affects the amount of insulin and sugar in the body.
In the two major types of diabetes, individuals produce virtually no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or do not produce enough insulin or the body fails to use it effectively (type 2).
The FDA says Exubera lowers blood sugar concentrations by allowing the blood sugar to be used by cells as a source of fuel.Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.