September 7, 2016

Suggestions When You Are Out of Insulin Early

I have been fortunate not to have any problems with my insulin. I have never had any freeze and if the apartment gets extremely hot, I use a cooler with cold packs to keep it in temperature. These are the same cold packs that come in the Styrofoam containers, which my insulin arrives. Apparently, I have been a person with the right habits as I have always stored my insulin in a pocket on the door.

I had to tell my wife many times to not slam the door shut and possibly cause problems for the insulin, but now that she also has type 2 diabetes, she is more careful. Recently I read an article that reminds people not to store insulin in the back part of the refrigerator, as there is a risk of the insulin freezing and becoming unusable.

I have been fortunate enough to have other friends that use the same insulin, I am able to borrow a vial if and when needed, and I also loan a vial if they ever need it. Others have had problems and often run out and when they go to the pharmacy, they are told their insurance won't cover their insulin because it is too early to fill their prescription. Then they often need to cover a vial out of their own pocket at over $300 per vial. Some are able to talk to their diabetes doctor and obtain a sample vial or two until they can have insurance cover their prescription.

Not everyone has a diabetes doctor that has samples to hand out and others cannot obtain it because of it being a weekend. In talking with Beverly, she said she had just been studying this and suggested the following, especially for type 1 people:
  1. People who have diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, need to have and take insulin that is effective.
  2. If you have type 1 diabetes, you are in danger of DKA. Know what it is, how to prevent, recognize, and get help for DKA.
  3. A back-up plan for insulin gone bad or not available.
  4. To double check insulin when taken out of the refrigerator for the “feel of the temperature” of the insulin. Do not use if hot, warm, or frozen.
  5. To know what their insulin should look like, clear or cloudy. Avoid it if crystals, clumps or anything unusual is noted.
  6. The onset, peak, and length of action of insulins they are taking, as well as replacements if needed.
  7. If insulin is not available and can’t get insulin within hours, to visit the nearest ED or urgent care center.
For type 2 and type 1, she had the following suggestions:
  1. Try their diabetes doctor for samples.
  2. The next option would be to see if the insurance would make an exception under the circumstances (but this may take time).
  3. Use a generic brand such as Walmart’s ReliOn brand can be a much cheaper option.
Beverly suggested for both types 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. She ended by saying, you do not need a prescription for regular, NPH or 70/30 insulin.

No comments: