Cheaper insulin

I m tid x 60 and recently lost my health insurance I use Humalog with my pump the cost now will be $250 per vial I saw that Novolin R is only $27 is it possible to substitute

Sorry you lost your ins, and that I don’t know if you can use that insulin in your pump.

Here’s a link to our patient assistance page. I’ve been asking my endo to give me free samples for the past year or so.

You might also try to use a drug discount program such as that offered by AAA.

Thanks - I belong to the AAA

Give them a call and let us know what kind of price you can get. I think there are many others in the same situation and looking for options.

Are the ACA exchange insurance plans a possibility?

Try to find a copy of the package insert that accompanies Novolin R. You may be able to find a copy of that online, just Google “Novolin package insert.” It will usually address whether it is usable in a pump. I’ve been using a pump since before the rapid acting analogs, like Humalog, were introduced. I used a few different Regular insulin formulations. The only one I can remember was Velosulin, but I know there were others. The issue is whether the insulin is buffered so that it does not interact with the plastic in the infusion sets and cause an occlusion.

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I found the package insert for Novolin online. Here’s the pertinent info:

Use in Insulin Pumps
Use of Novolin R in insulin pumps is not recommended because of the risk of precipitation.

This would be a good question for a pharmacist. You could also google other Regular insulin brands.

Precipitation? What does that mean in this context? @Terry4

I’m not sure, Sam. But I do know that back in the '80s some of the Regular insulin formulations caused infusion set occlusions. Perhaps the interaction with the infusion set plastic over time caused the insulin to precipitate out some of its component ingredients.

[quote=“Karen55, post:1, topic:47269, full:true”]
I m tid x 60 and recently lost my health insurance I use Humalog with my pump the cost now will be $250 per vial I saw that Novolin R is only $27 is it possible to substitute
[/quote]The R insulin is not recommended for pumps, as you already know. But, Anything is possible! The best way to answer this is to try it. Do keep in mind that R insulin and rapid insulin have very different duration, action, etc. So be sure to read the label, be ready to adjust your settings, be able to test while you learn if the possibility is a reality, and watch for occlusions and so on. And please let us know how it goes.

I would strongly encourage you to NOT try it. I was mistakenly given a bottle of R instead of Humalog by the pharmacy and my bg shot up to numbers unknown. I was told by my endo team that R is not stable enough for an insulin pump.

Sarah :four_leaf_clover:

Even if it will work fine in a pump I’d assume the settings would have to be pretty much completely redone… Certainly wouldn’t be a simple transition

NOVOLOG works fine in pumps. I’ve used it for years, interchangeably with Humalog. I’ve never used REGULAR in a pump, as it isn’t buffered. Before Humalog hit the market in 1996, I used Velosulin in my pump for a few months, which was a buffered version of REGULAR.
REGULAR would definitely not be recommended!

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Actually both Regular U-100 and U-500 are generally fine in pumps. Buffered insulin was a specialty product developed to deal with a chemical reaction with PVC tubing in pumps like the Minimed. Minimed developed a technology called “polyfin” tubing which fixed all those issues and after that there was no need or use for buffered regular insulin and it was discontinued in 2003. Should you have any question about the use of Regular in your pump do contact your pump supplier.

That being said, using Regular requires changing numerous setting on your pump including at the very least the duration of action and probably all your ratios. You will also probably need to change your style of pumping bolusing earlier than before for meals. And the real issue is if you have insurance problems and Humalog insulin is too expensive then pumping will likely also be too expensive.


Brian, this is more in line with my experience. I started pumping in 1987 and I used Regular insulin. I think the insulin I used was Humulin. Doing a quick internet search, I found that Humulin was first available in 1983, so that timing makes sense. My first pumps were from MiniMed (later Medtronic) and I remember the term “polyfin tubing.” I think my doctor later switched me to Velosulin, a buffered insulin, due to the fear of insulin/infusion set occlusions.

Bottom line, I used Regular insulin in my pumps from 1987 to 1996 when Humalog, the first rapid acting analog insulin, came out.

interesting, but I don’t like to use insulin that my doctors would argue with the use of. :slight_smile: I’ve no problem with people doing what works for them, though!! it’s bad enough that I have had periodic convos with my current endo about my use of Novolog. He finally got me to switch by giving me at least 4 bottles of Humalog every office visit (3 months apart), so I’m kept in insulin for free, which is nice and hope it continues now that I’m on Medicare.