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When Patients Cannot Afford Insulin

Laurie Klipfel, RN, MSN, BC-ANP, CDE was recently asked if she could offer any pearls of wisdom for another Disaster Averted regarding a patient with type 1 diabetes who couldn’t afford his analog insulin. After reading her advice, keep reading to learn how you can take action to help make insulin more affordable.

When patients cannot afford analog insulins, rather than using no insulin, it is still possible to use the old tried and true.

Though the analogs match insulin need to insulin much better than regular insulin, taking regular insulin (especially when using a generic brand such as Walmart’s ReliOn brand) can be a much cheaper option and would be much better than not taking any meal dose insulin at all.  It would be beneficial to explain the differences in action times and suggest taking regular insulin 15-30 min. before the meal and beware of potential hypoglycemia 3-5 hours after injection due to longer action of regular. Of note, you do not need a prescription for regular, NPH or 70/30 insulin.

–Laurie Klipfel, RN, MSN, BC-ANP, CDE

Dr. Desmond Schatz and the American Diabetes Association are petitioning to  Stand Up for Affordable Insulin. Add your name to the petition and tell:

  • Companies involved in the insulin supply chain that we need transparency, affordability and access, and that no one who relies on insulin should have to wonder if they’ll be able to afford it, and
  • Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin prices and to take action to ensure all people who need insulin have affordable access to this lifesaving medication.

Learn more and sign the petition here.

If you have a “Diabetes Disaster Averted” story, please let us know! If we feature your Disaster Averted in our Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series e-newsletter, you will receive a $25 gift card. Please click here to submit a short summary of the incident, what you feel you learned from handling the incident, and your name and title. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please let us know, but still give us your name and address (so we can send you the gift card).

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