How Much Does Afrezza Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Afrezza, a prescription-based drug used to treat diabetes mellitus, including diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2, is only available as a branded name drug at the time of this publishing.

As a man-made rapid-acting inhaled insulin that is breathed through your lungs, it’s designed to help adults control their high blood sugar, working about 15 minutes after usage, according to the company’s official description.

Today, it’s known as the only rapid-acting insulin available that can be inhaled, saving you about 1,000 needle sticks per year.

How much does Afrezza cost?

The cost of Afrezza, like purchasing any prescription medication, will be based on a variety of factors, including the pharmacy you use, your health insurance policy and the quantity prescribed.  With a variety of options available, we included the average costs in the table below that we found via popular pharmacies such as Costco, Walgreens, CVS and Sam’s Club, to name a few.

QuantityAverage Price Reported
(1 kit) 90 cartridges of 4 units$300-$325
(1 kit) 90 cartridges of 8 units$600-$650
(1 kit) 90 cartridges of 12 units$920-$975

From the research we did, it appears that most private insurance companies, including Medicare, will not pay for the prescription, meaning you will have to pay out of pocket; however, as we will talk about in our next subheading, it does not mean you cannot save money as there are ways to save.  The FAQ, however, did note that it is available on 70% of private insurance plans, with the average cost reported to be $45 a month.

How to save on Afrezza

Prescription savings card:  Instead of using your insurance policy, consider using a free prescription card to save on the costs.  GoodRX.com, for example, offers coupons for just about any prescription drug that is currently available on the market.  The time of this publishing, for example, we saw costs that were a pinch less than the numbers indicated in the table above, for example.  Working just like an insurance policy, all you need to do is print the card for the pharmacy you plan on using and present the card as you would your insurance card to help save.

Savings card via the manufacturer:  Like many manufacturers, the official manufacturer of the drug offers a savings card for those who qualify.  According to the description of the savings card page, it appears you can pay as little as $15 for each prescription depending on your current insurance coverage, with the maximum benefit based upon your NDC.  Reading the fine print, it will not be valid for those on any state or federally funded program or where prohibited by law.  To see if you qualify, follow this link, fill out the form and see if you can save on your next prescription.

Larger supply:  As with most prescription drugs, the larger your supply is, the more you can potentially save, and since you know there’s a good chance you will need this prescription for longer than 90 days, then you may want to ask your doctor for a longer fill to help save on the costs.

Private insurance:  Seeing it’s a relatively new drug, health insurance providers still need to approve it in their system, but it doesn’t mean yours will not cover it today.  Check with your insurance company to be certain if the prescription drug is covered.  As stated above, the FAQ does note the avearage private insurance carrier will only pay $45 a month.

Drug overview

The cartridges come as three doses:  4, 8, and 12-unit cartridges, and to use, you will select the cartridge for your dose, load the cartridge, inhale and discard the cartridge after use.  Refer to the video we found online below to see how it works.

To use the drug, it will be inhaled through the mouth and will generally be taken before a meal, unless otherwise stated by your physician.  As with any prescription drug, always follow the prescription label closely and ask questions about any concerns you may have before starting.  Before the prescription, your physician should show you how to use the medicine and adjust the dosages for illnesses and activities.  Never adjust unless your doctor specifies.

The device can be used for up to 15 days after the first use; after that, you should get a new one and throw the old one away.  Between uses, it must be stored at room temperature, around 36 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  Any unopened foil cartridges, however, should be stored in the refrigerator and must be used before the expiration day.  If you fail to refrigerate the cartridges, then it should be used within 10 days.

According to Diatribe.org, before you receive your prescription, you will be asked to undergo a breathing test, known as a spirometry test, to verify if your lungs are healthy enough for the prescription.  Those with asthma or chronic lunch disease will not be approved for the drug, for example, while it is also not recommended for those who smoke or recently stopped.

Afrezza side effects

The most common side effects, as reported by the FDA, include low blood sugar levels, coughing and/or a sore throat.  More serious side effects, which would require immediate medical assistance, could, while rare, include heart failure, low potassium in your blood, severe allergic reaction, diabetic ketoacidosis, lung cancer and/or decreased lung function, to name a few.  This is not a full list of side effects; refer to the FDA link for more information.  As always, any side effects should be immediately reported to a medical professional.

Tips to know

The FDA approved the medication for adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and driving heavy machinery while using the medication.


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