Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Out-of-Pocket Costs Way Up for Type 2 Diabetes

    Study questions value of insulin analogs, but U.S. diabetes expert says they're cost-effective

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Dennis Thompson

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Laboratory-engineered "insulin analogs" have become the main type of insulin prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes, significantly boosting their out-of-pocket costs, a new study reports.

    Insulin use among those with type 2 diabetes increased by about 50 percent over a 10-year period, with most patients receiving pricey insulin analogs that have nearly doubled the amount of money they pay for their prescriptions, said study author Dr. Kasia Lipska, an instructor in medicine at Yale University School of Medicine.

    The analogs are molecularly altered forms of human insulin that are designed to be absorbed more quickly or more slowly by the body than human insulin, to avoid dangerous drops in blood sugar levels overnight or to help the body process meals quickly.

    "We have made an almost universal transition to the use of the more expensive insulin agents, at least among privately insured patients," Lipska said. "Do all these patients find the potential benefits of analogs over human insulin worth the cost? Probably not."

    But, Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, said the case could be made that increased use of insulin and insulin analogs shows that diabetics and their doctors are doing a better job controlling the chronic disease.

    "The increase in the use of insulin over this time period is actually strongly correlated with other data that show improved glucose [blood sugar] control and decreases in complications, which is a very good thing," Ratner said.

    Many people with type 2 diabetes take insulin to help process blood sugar. If blood sugar levels get too high, a wide range of health problems can set in, leading to damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves, and other organs.

    On Tuesday, the federal government reported that the number of Americans with diabetes rose from 26 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2012 -- or 9 percent of the population. Between 90 percent and 95 percent of diabetes cases are the type 2 variety, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow