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is insulin available in the US without a prescription?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by wilf, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. wilf

    wilf Approved members

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    The discussion in another thread has gotten me curious.

    Here in Ontario, I can walk into my nearest 24-hour pharmacy and buy any insulin over the counter (no prescription) as long as I'm willing to pay cash. For it to be covered by insurance, a prescription is needed. I know it's the same in Germany.

    So what's up in the good old U.S. of A.? Do you need a prescription to get insulin under all circumstances? And if not, then under what circumstances can you get it over the counter?
     
  2. Flutterby

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    I believe the only insulin you can get in the US without a prescription is regular.
     
  3. Amy C.

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    I think that NPH is over the counter as well.
     
  4. MamaBear

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    I saw that and was googling to find out. I can't get an answer I just see ads for ordering from Canada. What is meant by "regular insulin?":confused:
     
  5. jcanolson

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    I believe it varies state to state. Let's just say that nothing that I would want to give a small child is available over-the-counter. :cwds:
     
  6. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    Some of the insulins are over the counter and some aren't (I think Regular and NPH is correct) but there's the additional issue of syringes and needles, which in many states are illegal to buy without prescription. Here in Illinois, it's legal to buy 20 syringes or needles as long as you're 18 (that was the very first thing I got carded on) but the attitude that pharmacists will give you is fierce!
     
  7. timsma

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    Regular insulin is what was available for a short acting insulin before the humalog/novolog/apidra became available. You used it with NPH. It was not a good regime for a toddler, that's for sure!

    Wilf, no insulin is available in MN over the counter other than regular and nph that I'm aware of. And if one is not trained in the use of those insulins, it could be dangerous and I could see where the poster of the thread you are speaking of could get in trouble for even trying to use such insulins without training.
     
  8. MamaBear

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    Thank you.
     
  9. dianas

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    I posted in the other thread but just confirming only Reg, NPH, and I believe 70/30 are available over the counter in the US. This may not be true in all states. And even if it is available it isn't always easy to get. Syringes are another story as Jonah noted.
     
  10. Lawana

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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  11. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Which begs the question, why would a diagnosed type 1 need to be able to obtain insulin without a prescription?
     
  12. Amy C.

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    They need a bottle of insulin, but cannot get a prescription. They may be out of town or in the instance that precipated this thread, the noncustodial parent who needs a new bottle of insulin because the custodial parent did not give them a fresh bottle of insulin for the child's visit and the endo would not allow them to have a new bottle.
     
  13. czardoust

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    you can get R and NPH w/o a prescription. When my mom went to Belize a few years ago she bought some from her local CVS over the counter and took it to Belize, gave it to the people w equipment that was donated by CWD :)
     
  14. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    In addition to the reasons already given, a person without insurance may not want to go see a doctor every year to get prescriptions.
    Or you could just find you're at work, two hours away from home, and you forgot your stuff :eek:. But there's a pharmacy across the street!
     
  15. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Well yes - it's terribly inconvenient to actually have to get a prescription for a drug you'll be using all your life :rolleyes:

    Fine, I'm sure there are instances when OTC insulin could be more convenient, but I'm not sure the convenience trade off is worth the risk of nut job parents (think munchausen by proxy) having easy access or anyone else who might have a nefarious use in mind.
     
  16. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    But you have to get a new prescription every year. Prescriptions expire every year or more often (prescriptions for anabolic steroids and narcotics expire faster). Anybody who is ever diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is not going to have trouble turning up a once-upon-a-time prescription, they might have trouble getting a current one.

    Since NPH and Regular are available and syringes (especially dirty ones) not hard to find, I don't see how making analog insulins prescription only prevents anybody from using insulin to make themselves sick.

    The only rationale I can think of for making them prescription only is that insurance companies are often more willing to pay for something if it isn't "over the counter". I mean, that's why they say they won't pay for my ketone strips.
     
  17. Flutterby

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    I don't think insulin, any insulin, should be available without a prescription.. I do have a friend that keeps a vial of regular in her house, for her cats.. they are lantus twice a day, but sometimes one of them gets regular for really high bgs.
     
  18. sarahspins

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    Are you so sure? Think about how many people would end up in the hospital in DKA if these insulins were unavailable, likely with very large bills they can't afford to pay...

    Most of the people who use Regular and NPH and are buying them over the counter are probably uninsured and can't afford the doctor's visit to GET a prescription another insulin... never mind the fact that the analogs cost 2-3X as much per vial and they probably couldn't afford that either.

    FWIW, when it was still available, Lente was also OTC.. but with the newer long acting analogs coming to the market, it was discontinued a while back.
     
  19. wilf

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    I think it really looks bad on the US that you can't get modern insulins without a prescription - who exactly is being served by such a pointless restriction?!
     
  20. miss_behave

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    I honestly don't think insulin should be available over the counter. It can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly, and therefore its availability should be controlled IMHO.
    In saying that, we have a different situation here. No Australian would want to buy insulin without a prescription as they then would not be offered it at a significantly subsidised price as per the government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme e.g the patient pays $33.30 or $5.40 per Lantus prescription, the government pays the remaining $432. Who would want to pay that out of pocket?!
    Those struggling financially are entitled to have a concession/health care card, so they do not have to pay for doctor's appointments and therefore shouldn't have difficulty obtaining a prescription due to financial means.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010

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