How many vials of insulin in a month?

Hello. I am going to be starting the Omnipod this week and I am very curious how many vials in a typical month does a person go through? I realize we all use different amounts of insulin, but just to get an idea would be very helpful. I am concerned about the cost of insulin. I have United Health Care for insurance and each vial costs me $60. Now I am not sure if my prescription is written differently if I would be able to get 2 vials for the $60 or how it works exactly. But it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I might end up spending close to $600 per month if I were to use 100 units every 3 days. Ouch.

I don’t see why it would be much different with the Omnipod versus MDI unless you use so little insulin that you fill only the minimum amount (85 units) and throw most of it out.

I use an average of ~35 units a day, so that works out to ~1000/month, or about 1 vial a month. More during the holidays when I eat too many cookies :slight_smile:

I think your math is wrong - a vial is 1000 units, so 100 units every 3 days = about the same as me, 1 vial a month.

Thanks BarbraW! I must not be with it this morning or something because for some reason I was thinking there are only 100 units per vial when in reality there are 1000. : )

Thanks again!

The Novolog vials we get are 10 mL vials at 100 unit/mL (so 1000 units per vial). Our oldest daughter goes through 120 units every three days and she goes through a little over one bottle per month. If you use 100 units every three days, one bottle should be perfect for you in one month.

No worries - when I was first diagnosed and was on Lantus, I called around to check on prices as we have a very high deductible (almost $4000) on our insurance. The price they quoted me for Lantus pens was working out to something like $1000/month! I was in shock! Then I figured out that they were quoting me a price for 10 pens (or however many came in a box) and I was assuming it was 1 pen.

Talk about sticker shock!

Regardless, Diabetes ain’t cheap. I’m kind of chuckling at that story now, because there’s no way on earth that we won’t be meeting our deductible every single year from now on. It used to be that I didn’t even bother to file stuff with insurance, because we never even got close to $4K/year.

Wow, that is a very high deductible. I am currently using vials of Lantus because it turned out to be less expensive than the pens on our insurance. $35 versus $60/month. Even saving that $25/month helps when there are other meds needed each month too. No, Diabetes definitely is not cheap. That is for sure!

Yes, I finally looked at my vial and noticed the 10ml at 100 units per ml…lol! You would think I should know that since I have been type 1 for 5 years now. : )

Thanks for your response, I am glad to hear I should be around a vial per month if not at least under 2 vials. That I can afford. :slight_smile:

Dont worry…I have been type 1 for 30 years bow, and I still dont know all the specifices on vial abount…units per vial, etc. i do know I go through about 1 vial every 1.5 mos. and that’s all I know. (Actually, I know a bit more but we will not go into what I know…that wuld be a waste of time). Welcomne to the pod! It’s good t be a podster!

I think we all make that mistake about knowing the capacity of the vial of insulin - I know I did :slight_smile: When I started the OmniPod my CDE suggested for me to get an extra vial until I learned approximately how many units I would need per day. My basal needs were erratic, still are, so an extra vial comes in handy. Plus on occasion I am a real klutz and have been known to knock the pod off (I don’t have much luck withdrawing the remaining insulin from the pod, but others do).

If it’s a $60 co-pay for a months worth of insulin (which is the way most insurance do it) then you can get as many vials as your doctor will prescribe for that same amount. Your insulin usage isn’t likely to change much but I have found that I sometimes have trouble using the entire bottle in my pods (I use 200 units in about 2.5 days so I fill it every time, you’d think that this would mean one bottle would precisely fill 5 pods but it ends up filling more like 4.5 pods). The other thing to check though is where your Omnipods are coming from. Because I get my from a medical supplier (CCS Medical) that also operates as a pharmacy they send my insulin out as durable medical equipment so it’s covered differently. That may be an option that’s worth looking into for you as well.

I fill my pod with about 150 unites each time. You need to have your doctor write a prescription for whatever you need for a month. Also try mail order pharmacy if you don’t already - I have united healthcare and it saves me a bunch of money.

You don’t mention whether this is your first pumping experience. I discovered that I use a lot less insulin than I did with MDIs. My prescription is for 5 vials every 3 months. I use a total of approx. 32 u/day. 11.65u Bolus and 20.65u Basal. I used to use 32u of Levemir alone.

I also use less insulin with the pump. Before pumping, I was using about 90 units/day. Now, it’s about 65 – just about the 200-unit max held by the Omnipod.

My son is 6 foot almost 200 lbs. He needs the full 200 units in the pump and at most wastes 20 units in the end of the 3 days…but sometimes he keeps it on a bit and uses most of all of it. We are lucky to have both Military and private insurance and one picks up what the other doesn’t so we pay 0. There is a family deductible in the begining of each year but that goes fast.
I still worry each month that we are going to run out but so far…we have had extra. I wish there was some program where I could give someone in need some of my extra pens. I have humalog and lantus pens that he doesn’t need anymore. They are just sitting in my fridge. If he needs an injection…we have regular needles for that.
So far… so good for us. He gets 4 vials a month. We have one open… one at school in their fridge and 1 open full at home and 3 in the fridge. I have 9 lantus pens and 6 humalog pens and 1 unopened vial of lantus… If anyone knows anyone near Dover, DE that needs the pens and vial of lantus. Have them contact me. I really hate them just sitting there in the fridge… they aren’t old… son was just diagnosed this year.

My son uses an average of 52 units a day. Wow…

Thanks! I am very much looking forward to being a podster too!!

I called my endo today and had her change my prescription to 2 vials per month just this morning. I did this after talking to my CDE and she suggested I do that. So now the prescription is filled at the pharmacy and you are correct, it was only my $60 co-pay for both vials! What a relief!
I had to order my pods thru a medical supplier as well (Edgepark). I wonder if they also operate as a pharmacy too? I will be calling them soon to find out. Thank you for suggesting that option. That might be the way to go for me. : )

I have done some looking into the mail order pharmacy but have yet to try it. I worry some about the winter’s here and having insulin mailed out to me. Should that be a concern?

No, it is not my first pumping experience. A little over 2 years ago I used the minimed paradigm 722 pump. But for the life of me I can’t remember how much insulin I was using then. I can estimate my bolus insulin but couldn’t remember how much basal I was using. Now that I have been MDI for 2 years again it seems hard to recall all the details.
Forgive me, but what kind of insulin is Levemir? I haven’t heard of that one. Is it similar to Lantus?

That is fantastic to have both insurance options! I hope you find somebody that can use all that extra insulin you have. I did see a group on here that is called “Diabetics without insurance”…maybe read some posts on that board and see if there are any takers there? Not sure if that is proper protocol but might be worth a try? Good luck! :slight_smile: