The End of Ultralente and NPH

While the date is unknown, both of these insulins that many of us have used to regulate our sugars will soon be gone. Replaced by a new regime of insulins that require doctor approval, insurance coverage and, of course, high prices.

Sure, my endo was shocked when she reviewed my NPH/UL regime yes, 10 years old, but it worked. But I find the new future harder to live in. More regulation, which may work in some fields, only serves the best interest of new insulin producers. I joke that my new Lantus has never lived up to the 24-hour promised. The result, more humalog.

Anyone else have this experience?

Hi Mike:

Well, no surprise there. It was just a matter of time 'til Ultralente
and NPH were put a stop to.

Yes, I went through the same thing that you are going through now.
Many others have also.

Only mine was Lente(I was also on Humalog though). I believe the
manufacturing of it was stopped in July/05. Needless to say, I was
peed off since Lente worked quite well for me and I was on it a long

Early that year, I called up my Pharmacy and asked them to buy all
the Lente with a later expiry date.that they could get their hands on.
That was about a years worth. They all worked Fine. I finally ran out
in Dec/06, I believe. Then I started on Lantus. My Husband’s work
(group insurance)paid for it all as soon as the Pharmacy got them.
Why not? At $20. a vial, they couldn’t lose.

I always do my own med doses so since Lantus was so different
(I found it was like shooting water into my body) I started by taking
the same amount that I had been of my Lente. I had to take quite
a bit more Humalog until I got the Lantus at the right doseage. I do
still take a bit more Humalog than I used to with Lente but anyways…

The price of Lantus was reasonable here at that time but since so
many US Folks were coming to Canada and buying the cheaper
costing drugs the US drug manufacturers got peed off and told our
Gov. that they’d stop selling the drugs to Canada(really eh?)(we were
only allowed enough stock for Canadians) or they’d raise the prices.

We can still buy Humalog and Lantus over the counter if you can afford
the price now.

You know, I wouldn’t mind using a pump if the darn things would work
properly at least 98% Pumps are more work compared to needles and

I will be getting one I guess since my Husband’s work covers them totally.
I’ll wait for the Omnipod to come to Canada however. I don’t like the tubing
of the others. Hopefully, all the bugs will be outta the pod by then. ;o)

I think there will be a major problem if NPH is pulled from the market. Many of us require an intermediate insulin with a pronounced peak to deal with the Dawn Phenomenon. Especially T2s who need to inject insulin. Lantus and Levemir are not much good if one’s basal insulin requirements aren’t pretty much flat over the 24 hour cycle. I would be very surprised if Lilly or Novo abandon NPH. It wouldn’t make good business sense.

And yes, I also find that Lantus doesn’t last the full 24 hours. To get even coverage the shot needs to be split. So I take half at bedtime and the other half in the morning.

Like you, I find the old varieties work far better than these manmade creations, and are far more predictable, too. The fact is that NPH is now the ONLY 8-10 hour insulin remaining on the market (I’d prefer Lente, but that’s gone, at least in the U.S., although manufacturers in Poland and Argentina still make it). In Canada, there is a fourth choice: insulin from Wockhardt U.K., although due to currency exchange rates, many Provincial governments don’t want to pay for it.

Its true that Novo Nordisk has announced its intention to eliminate all forms of “human” insulin (its not human, its synthetic, but I digress) leaving only costly (and patent-protected) insulin analogs available (see the CFO Interview here for more information), and Ultralente has been gone for some time already, but Novo is not able to do anything yet and the big impediment is rival Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly still earns over $1.1 billion per year on synthetic “human” insulins including Regular and NPH and is a 1-trick pony when it comes to analogs (Humalog only) so the company cannot afford to pull them from the market at this time.

But the big unknown is how long before generics emerge; technically, NPH could be offered today, but the FDA has yet to outline procedures (see my article on that subject for details). Tell your representatives in Congress to move on legislation that has been pending but never voted on for over a year now which would enable generic biopharmaceuticals – what the heck are they waiting for?

I was jsut switched from NPH & regular last Oct, to Lantus and Humalog, I LOVE IT!

I take Lantus TWICE a day, morning and evening, half and half of my daily total of Lantus. I was told to forget the 24hr BS about Lantus from the start. With the split dose (twice a day) I an in great control, level as calm water 24/7. I ahd to do a lot of testing to get my basal and bolus properly figured, but it sure was worth it. I feel normal BS wise, and OFF the spike and dive roller coaster. The endo ahd my Lantus TOO HIGH at the switch-over so I was still on the spike and dive till I got the Lantus dose figured out. AFTER you find a good stable basal dose you can figure your insulin to carb ratio, mine is 1 unit of humalog per 10 grams of carbs.

(&( GOMER .

Ultralente has been gone for a couple years in the U.S. . I was using it very successfully, but was told that mostly people were using it for cats.

When did you hear that NPH was gone? There are two different companies making it right now and a lot of people using it, so that seems odd.

I have read about people who are allergic to modern day insulins and must use the old pork insulin. I have heard that pork insulin is no longer made or sold in the USA so it has to be purchsed from other countries. I think that it is sold in the UK so maybe it can be ordered from there. There is a member of this site who was found to be allergic to modern day insulins. She suffered greatly and developed terrible complications until she was treated and now can resist her allergy to Humalog. She is pumping and using Humalog and finally has much better control but her allergy still bothers her at times and she has a lot of very high blood sugar. I used pork insulin for almost 40 years and I was rather successful withn it. Since using the much more expensive modern day insulins I tend to have more hypos than I did with pork insulin. I did have more highs with pork insulin though. I suppose that all insulins have their own advantages/disadvantages.


I used nph & humolog and used ultralente & humalog before switching to a pump. Ultralente hasn’t been available for a couple of years now where I live.

I’ve gone off pump as of today, as I prefer to be on shots for beachy vacations, so I am talking lantus and humalog. I practiced for a week about a month ago (aaaccckkkk! Math!), and it worked out really well with just one shot of lantus.

I can see how nph would be quite useful for a lot of folks. It is also still commonly used by a lot of T1’s that I know. I hope it stays around for that reason - I hadn’t heard it was going off the market. I didn’t like nph - it have me hives and hypos.