Why is it that Lantus requires a prescription when other long-acting types of insulin do not? I feel like I should be able to go to a drugstore and purchase any type of insulin that I choose without a prescription.
You raise an interesting question. However I'm afraid I cannot provide you with a definite answer. Perhaps it would be best to ask an endocrinologist. I did some research to try and find an answer to your question but was not able to come up with an authoritive source. I wouldn't suggest that you obtain information from unknown sources, as these may not be correct, but I did find a commercial website, which speculates on this issue. It basically suggests that Lantus, along with Humalog and Novolog might have more dangerous side effects, than the beef or pork-based insulins. However this is ONLY speculation and that particular website is not an authoritive source on the subject. My suggestion is to ask your endocrinologist and see what he/she says
I hesitate to comment on my "conspiracy theory" regarding this subject, but I cant resist. I think that the medical establishment in this country does everything that it can to "self perpetuate". In other words, the medical community has a vested interest in creating a system in which it has a much control as is possible on how dollars are spent. If I MUST go to my doctor before I am granted the opportunity to purchase a medicine that I cant live without, it insures that I will stay firmly rooted in a broken, and dare I say criminal, system that will allow the medical establishment to bill my insurance company inflated costs for my treatment. A tax on the sick. To take it even further, it is certainly not in the best interest of the medical community to find a cure for my affliction, only more expensive and controllable ways of treating it. If they can keep me alive for as long as possible, but insure that I stay on the "treatment tether", it gaurantees a long and prosperous releationship. Chew on that for awhile, before you dismiss it out of hand. :)
I'm not a medical expert or a pharmacist, but I would suspect that Lantus requires a prescription because it's new enough that the FDA wants to track who gets it, so they can track any unexpected health issues. As it proves itself to be safe over a longer period of time, that need will be less, and the prescription requirement will go away. Humulin, for example, has been on the market long enough that it no longer needs a prescription, but I believe I've verified on the FDA web site that the FDA required a prescription when it first came on the market. Sorry, I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories like this.
Insulins generally tend to have three general characterisitics -time of onset, duration of action, and peak of onset.
Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog ALL require prescrptions because 1) they have not been out on the market as long as the conventional porcine/bovine insulins (Humulin N, R, L, 50/50, 70/30, etc), 2) The onset of actions for Humalog, Novolog, and Lantus are quite fast (anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes), and although these insulins generally do NOT cause hypoglycemia episodes (low blood sugar), if patients do not know how to use them properly, they can lapse into a hypoglycemia episode and this can be dangerous and even fatal in some cases, and 3) Lantus generally tends to have a very long onset of action with no peak and stays in the system anywhere from 24 to 36 hrs (one of the longest duration of actions seen in insulin); whereas both Humalog and Novolog tend to have much shorter duration of actions lasting from 6 to 12 hours, which is still quite a significant time for the insulin to be in the body.
You can buy Lantus without a prescription from any pharmacy in Canada. There are other prescription and nonprescription drugs available for sale online, which can save an uninsured American a lot of money.
The powers that be will argue its not safe or say almost anything to get the monet and authority back in their control. They are liars and would allow people to die in order to maintain their lavish lifestyle.
Lets hope that this recent election of Obama and the ousting of Republicans in the Congress can change the wrongful and truly brutal policies of the previous administration.
Wow! I cannot believe the amount of mis-information on this site. First, I would like to address the general issue of Lantus, Humulog (Novolog) and other insulins that do require a prescription. The FDA requires that new pharmacological products developed by Eli Lilly & Novonordisk, etal be filled in US pharmacies with a prescription. In the early '90's a congressional law was passed to allow insulins on the market at that time to be available without prescriptions. This prompted the manufacturers to almost immediately place on the market the newer insulins they were developing at the time. Of course, by doing so, they circumvented the new law and the newer insulins required a prescription. This benefits the manufacturer in several ways. One, it guarantees a very high profit margin for these products. Two, it also ensures that these products will be available for reimbursement through major insurance providers thereby avoiding a consumer market demand for lower pricing. It is easy to infer a conspiracy by the major pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure that they keep their "consumers" at a specific level of health management in order to provide them with a veritable cash cow. Unfortunately, until a whistleblower from within the industry steps up (much like what happened with big tobacco) nothing can be substantiated. With that said, it's understandable that other countries are able to provide these medicinals without a prescription and at a much reduced price.
As to PharmD3006's comments: when Humulog initially hit the market, no prescription was required. That changed, however, due to much pleading to congress by the pharmaceutical companies in 1997. As well, none of the insulins you listed are either bovine or porcine derived. They are all derived through recumbinant DNA origin (human origin).
Insulin is just one aspect of diabetes management. Unfortunately, the only way we will ever see a day where medicine is affordable in this country is if pricing is regulated. The big misinformation seems to be the fact that we treat products and manufacturers such as these as "Free Market" products, when in fact it is actually based on a captured audience with only two choices for care, or death.
There are also many more tiers to this problem we face; however, we first need to understand what is actually happening.
"When in fact it is actually based on a captured audience with only two choices for care, or death."
Not true, Shadowsurf. You can't live without food or water -- but you don't see grocery stores running up their bills. Why? Because of the market, which always works, regardless of the product. There is a fair price for insulin, but it's just too bad we don't know it.
"More regulation?" It seems regulation is the real problem. Prescriptions shouldn't be necessary for such a vital product.
Also, it should be noted that price caps cause shortages. You want a real insulin problem? Then try to regulate the price -- you'll be well on your way.
BTW, your insight on the recent history of insulin is much appreciated. Your post was more informative than any other one on this chain.
I agree with you completely.I won't take Humalog any longer because it has drastic,devastating,effects,on my body.I don't trust it.When five units takes me from a bg of 500 down to under 20,numerous times,no thanks.I've been brittle for 38 years now and can not believe How this stuff keeps making my blood sugars crash.I understand the highs are hard on the body but if this continues I will most likely end up a vegetable or brain dead and no one wants to hear it.Its difficult to trust any of the medicines out there too with all the lawsuits and recalls.People are telling me not to be my own doctor but I have to as a result of all this chaos.
Multiple occurrence of hypoglycemia does not cause brain damage. See the DCCT study of the early 90's .
Banging your head against a wall does cause damage.
I have never read about anyone having a blood sugar of 500 taking 5 units of Novolog and become severely hypoglycemic in 20 minutes.
You might want to try taking 4 units and taking a 15 minute walk and then testing I guarantee you will not be hypoglycemic.
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