Compare Afrezza vs. Symlinpen

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Afrezza (insulin)

Prescription only

Symlinpen (pramlintide)

Prescription only
Controls mealtime blood sugar.

Afrezza (insulin) is effective at controlling blood sugar, but you can't use it if you've had lung problems or smoke.

Lowers blood sugar.

Symlinpen (pramlintide) helps lower blood sugar when fast-acting or mealtime insulin isn't enough, but it can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels.

  • Afrezza (insulin) is as effective as other mealtime insulin products.
  • Starts working faster and stays in your body for a shorter time than other mealtime insulin products, so you're less likely to have severely low blood sugar.
  • If you don't like needles, Afrezza (insulin) is a good alternative since you inhale it.
  • Safe to use in people 65 or older.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to lower your copay, such as coupons.
  • Symlinpen (pramlintide) doesn't cause weight gain like insulin does.
  • People using Symlinpen (pramlintide) see pretty good reductions in A1C levels and body weight.
  • Not recommended if you're a smoker or if you've smoked in the last 6 months.
  • Afrezza (insulin) only comes in 3 different strengths, so it can be inconvenient if you need a lot of insulin.
  • Not recommended in children under 18.
  • If you're pregnant, you'll need to talk to your doctor before you start Afrezza (insulin).
  • There is no generic available, and may not be covered right away by Medicare or other insurances.
  • Symlinpen (pramlintide) is expensive and a generic option isn't available.
  • You need to use Symlinpen (pramlintide) with each meal if you have Type 1 diabetes, and at least 2 times a day if you have Type 2 diabetes.
  • This can't replace your insulin and can't be mixed with insulin, so you need to be okay giving yourself another shot in addition to your insulin shots.
  • It may not be a good option if you have trouble figuring out when your blood sugar is low. Symlinpen (pramlintide) can cause low blood sugar levels that are life-threatening.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Inhalation powder
  • Injection
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Side effects
6possible side effects
  • Cough
  • Throat pain or irritation
  • Headache
  • Worsening lung function test
  • Airway inflammation
  • Urinary tract infection
See more detailed side effects
8possible side effects
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Injury
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Allergic reaction
  • Dizziness
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Low blood sugar
    • Changes in diet and exercise
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Taking other medications for diabetes
    • Over age 65
    • Liver or kidney problems
  • Breathing problems
    • Asthma
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Other long term lung problems
  • Low blood potassium levels
    • Taking laxatives
    • Taking medications that increase urination
  • Worsening lung function
    • Smoking
    • Second-hand smoke
    • Indoor and outdoor pollution
    • Work-related fume and chemical exposure
  • Fluid buildup
    • Taking Avandia or Actos
  • Too much acid in the blood
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Long periods of fasting
    • Alchohol abuse
    • History of pancreatitis
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Low blood sugar
    • Taking other diabetic medications
  • Sharing needles
  • Appropriate use
  • Injection site reactions
  • Stomach emptying problems (gastroparesis)
    • History of stomach problems
    • Medications that affect stomach emptying
  • Drug interactions
See more detailed risks and warnings