Sign in
In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million adults with diabetes — 16.5 percent of those who have been prescribed insulin to manage their disease — have rationed their use of the medication in the past year, according to a report published last month in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers found that some people who ration insulin delay refilling their prescriptions, and others skip doses or take a smaller dose of insulin than needed. Insulin is a hormone, created by the pancreas, that helps the body turn food into energy and also helps control blood sugar levels.
In people with diabetes, however, the body does not make enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or does not use it correctly, known as insulin resistance (Type 2). As a result, those with Type 2 diabetes may be prescribed insulin (known as “human insulin” but made in a lab) to keep their blood sugar levels in line, while those with Type 1 require a daily dose of insulin to live.
Learning to live with diabetes
The insulin generally must be injected via a needle, pen or pump, although an inhalable powder also can be used in some cases. The new report was based on data from an ongoing health research project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the researchers focusing on a nationally representative sample of 982 adults who use insulin to treat diabetes.
The report attributes the rationing to the cost of the drug and what it describes as “inadequate” insurance coverage. The price of the four most popular types of insulin has tripled in the past decade, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The report notes that rationing was more common among lower- and middle-income participants (15 and 20 percent, respectively) than higher income people (11 percent). Also, more Black participants rationed (23 percent) than did White or Hispanic participants (16 percent). Rationing was most frequent among those who were uninsured, with 29 percent saying they had rationed insulin. Still, 19 percent of those with private insurance rationed the drug, blaming high co-pays, vs. 14 percent of Medicare and 12 percent of Medicaid recipients.
This article is part of The Post’s “Big Number” series, which takes a brief look at the statistical aspect of health issues. Additional information and relevant research are available through the hyperlinks.


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *