Diabetes on a budget: Novolog v. Lantus

I’ve started a new insurance that has a very low limit on prescription drug payments (and on anything else). Any insights? Advice? Has anyone seen Lantus at an affordable price?

It looks like Costco and Walmart have cheaper prices on insulin, but it is Novolog, instead of Lantus.

Should I just get used to older and possibly inferior products when on a budget?

Any advice would be welcomed!

I have also heard that somehow you might be able to get your insurance to classify insulin as a “medical supply” rather than a presciption if you use mail order pharmacies. (I’m not sure about this, but it’s worth looking in to).

Ask for doctor for a free sample, my doctor gave me a vial of insulin when i was in a pinch.

Elaine …Please bear with me …Do I understand your posting correctly ?? one kind( Novolog ) versa other ( Lantus) ?
Novolog is fast acting insulin ( use for delivering a bolus , ie carbs etc. consumed ) , Lantus is a basal( backround ) insulin …in other words the 2 can be used in combination but NOT mixed ( instead of other kinds of insulin)

you are comparing apples to oranges.

Novolog is a bolus insulin while Lantus is a basal


One problem with Lantus is that it is in more limited production right now. In my area, it has become very difficult to get Lantus on a regular basis. I know diabetics who have standing orders at pharmacies to call them when it comes in. With a more limited supply, I do not think that is the way it is all over, but it is a growing issue, meaning that the price is likely to escalate. There are a couple of things you can consider, first a pump will immediately switch you over to all short term insulin. I use Humalog, but Novalog is also one of these. The down side you may use more total insulin but that which you use will be more available and cheaper.

Second, look to mail order companies. Think of Caremark, www.Caremark.com , Medco http://www.medcohealth.com/medco/consumer/home.jsp and others they are more likely to stock lantus in larger quantaties. good luck


Insulin is very temperature sensitive. Ordering it by mail is risky, despite what the mail-order customer service reps tell you (I called once to ask what special care they gave insulin during shipping and they said “none”). Unless insulin is shipped in insulated containers, how can they guarantee it doesn’t get too hot or freeze during transit or for the several hours it would sit in my mailbox?

I’m going to have to call the customer service number again and see if the mail-order company authorized by my insurance will confirm that’s how they ship their insulin. The last two service reps I spoke with couldn’t offer me any assurances. Sounds like I need to talk to a manager!

I was going to mention that too, Nel.

Elaine, maybe you should consult your doctor about it? I know it sounds kind of weird but when I was under my husband’s previous insurance, my diabetes supplies were costing us more then they had before. During a visit to my endo he had asked if I had considered a pump, and I told him that it wasn’t possible because we couldn’t afford it (or the stuff I had been on at the time) through the insurance we had. So he helped me find a form of insulin and a delivery method that was in my budget. :slight_smile:

Also some makers offer discounts for people who cannot afford their medicine. I had read somewhere the Eli Lily has such a program - maybe they have a long lasting insulin that could replace the Lantus that is also in your budget.

here it is Lauren! I did some research

Lilly Cares, Patient Assistance Program

Mine (caremark) comes in Styrofoam coolers as well. i have also had some suspect insulin arrive. (that is insulin that is no longer cold). When I get that I call carmark and they send another shipment no charge. I think they got tired of sending a new shipment so they went ro the Styrofoam sooler, no problems since.


In case this helps, I’ve found that Levemir tends to be less expensive than Lantus. Depending on how much you use in a month, Levemir lasts longer. Lantus expires in 28 days. Levemir lasts for five weeks, so less expensive in the long run.

You can use Levimir as your long-acting insulin and Novolog as your fast acting. I wonder if Levimir is less expensive; seems like I heard somewhere it was. Now WHERE is that medical insurance the members of Congress get that is supposedly going to be available to all? I know Obama has a lot to do, and I hope he concentrates on health care next.

I can keep a bottle of Lantus going for two to three months, depending on how many carbs I eat. (From what I can gather about 40-50% of your daily insulin should be basal.) It stops working after about three months and two weeks. I can only get one bottle of insulin each month with any assistance from insurance, so I space it and the Humalog out.

Do you take Lantus every day? I take basal twice a day. I never had to even look at the date because by day 27 my numbers started creeping up. Lantus lost effectiveness by day 28. Even though not required, I kept it refigerated. Can’t believe you got Lantus to last over 3 months–that’s great.

It’s working fantastically, thanks. I get my insulin and supplies for free, get consultations free, bloodwork free, the only expense I have connected with my diabetes is buying hypo treatments!

I prefer Levemir over Lantus. While Levemir isn’t often true-24 hour insulin in most people you can split the dose to make it like that. It’s also much easier to adjust the doses since it doesn’t have the 2-3 day wash out that Lantus has.

There are two kinds of Novolog, the fast acting and the long acting. :slight_smile:

Thanks! I suppose I could start a letter writing campaign! Or…check their websites.

Thanks, Cynthia! This is most helpful information. Since I do have (inadequate) insurance, I’m not sure that I’d qualify, but I’d bet someone else reading this will. I’ll check w/ my doctor and w/ Lilly.
:slight_smile: Thanks again,

Levemir (the Novo long acting insulin) is newer to market than Lantus, so I wouldn’t worry about getting older inferior products!