ADPH warns about the dangers of rationing insulin

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If you have diabetes, you know how expensive the cost insulin can be.

And for some, the cost is so high they’re rationing their supply.

A new study shows that one in five American adults are stretching their insulin to save money, but doing so can have devastating affects.

The cost of insulin is a heavy burden for many Americans—including many of you here in Alabama.

That study from Annals of Internal Medicine found that 1.3 million Americans are rationing their supply of insulin.

Doctors said they’re caring for far too many patients who come in with life-threatening complications from diabetes either because they can’t afford the life-saving drug, or they were taking smaller doses of it to make it last.

The study shows that insulin rationing was slightly more common among those with Type 1 diabetes than those with Type 2 diabetes, and those without health insurance rationed most frequently.

The lead doctor on the study said insulin prices in the U.S. are much higher than in other places, and pharmaceutical companies continue raising the price of insulin even though the medication hasn’t changed.

This is concerning for Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH because so many Alabamians have diabetes.

He said while it might be difficult for some patients to pay for their medications, not taking them as prescribed can led to multiple long-term health problems.

“In the short term, the concern would be diabetic keto acidosis and different people are at different risk for that based on their individual situation, but that is a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition that happens because of poor blood sugar control, and then in the longer-term you think about the other things like vascular disease, and kidney disease, and all of the other things that go along with having poorly controlled diabetes,” Dr. Stubblefield explained.

Dr. Stubblefield said if you’re struggling to pay for your diabetes medications, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.

He said they may be able to safely change your doses or find more affordable alternatives.

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