New Insulin Options for Diabetics
For those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are more insulin options available than ever before. These options come in convenient, pre-filled pens and are covered by most insurance policies. The companies that produce them also offer prescription discount cards for those who do not have insurance that can cover the entire cost of the medications.
Basaglar (insulin glargine) is one of the newer insulins on the market. It is recommended for those who were recently diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and whose bodies may still be producing small amounts of insulin on its own. Like several older brands, one of those being Lantus, it is an insulin glargine. It is also a basal insulin, which means that it works for 24 hours at a time so it only has to be taken once a day. Unlike Lantus, which has only been studied in patients 6 and older, Basaglar is safe to use for infants over one year old who have been diagnosed with diabetes. This is exciting news for pediatricians as it is often difficult to begin younger children on an insulin regimen due to the risks of using adult insulin.
Cost of Basaglar
The price of Basalar isn’t as bad as some of the previous new releases. The market cost is currently around $225 for 5 ml pens. It is NOT covered by most Medicare and insurance plans. The release of Basalgar is also good news for those who are uninsured or whose insurance plans have high medication co-pays because it is offered at a much lower price than similar insulin glargine brands. Patients can also save on their prescription using the Basalgar Savings Card.
Soliqua 100/33 (insulin glargine & lixisenatide) is a great new option available for those with Type 2 diabetes who have found their A1C levels hard to control with other insulin or medications. The medication is a combination of insulin glargine and lixisenatide for those who have not been able to maintain good glucose levels using either of those medications alone. It is only for adult patients and should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise for best results.
Cost of Soliqua 100/33
The general market cost for Soliqua is $700 per month before insurance; however, for patients who are concerned about the cost of Soliqua, the company offers a $0 copay with their Savings Card for 12 months. Soliqa 100/33 is covered by some Medicare and most commercial insurance plans as well.
Fiasp (insuline aspart) is as new fast-acting mealtime insulin indicated to improve glycemic control in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is a new formulation of the long time prescribed NovoLog with the addition of vitamin B3 to help increase the speed of insulin absorption. The reason for this is to mimic as much as possible the natural insulin response that occurs after meals.
Cost of Fiasp
The good news is that even though it is an improved version of NovoLog, it is being released at the same price. Currently the market price of Fiasp is around $280 for a 10ml vial. Further there is a savings card program for eligible patients with insurance to reduce co-pays.
First, Victoza (liraglutide) is NOT insulin and is not for use for those with type 1 diabetes. It is a prescription injectable for individuals with type 2 diabetes to regulate blood sugar. Along with diet and exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. Victoza has been shown to help lower A1C in as little as 2 weeks. It work by helping your pancreas produce more insulin and assisting beta cells (control blood sugar and release insulin). The reason to discuss this non insulin medication is so that we may have the background to dicuss one of the more interesting new drugs, Xultophy.
Cost of Victoza
Victoza is quite expensive with the current cost of 3 pens is around $800. There is no generic version available and, as usual with pharmaceuticals, there is a savings plan called the Novo Nordist Instant Savings Card which could reduce the price down to as low as $25.
Xultophy is the combination of Tresiba and Victoza. It is the non insulin GLP-RA and the long acting basal insulin all in one injection. This treatment is not for everyone, but it is worth noting that for those individuals for who Victoza may not be enough, this combo medication might fit the bill.
Cost of Xultophy
One of the most expensive treatments in the category, Xultophy will set you back $1,200 for a pack of 5 3ml pens. With coupons it can get below $1,000. The reason is it so expensive is that it is the combination of two already expensive drugs. As we have already discussed, there are savings cards for Tresiba and Victoza, this is no different for Xultophy. It is als not covered by most Medicare plans.
Tresiba (insulin degludec) is another excellent, recently approved insulin option for children and adults with diabetes. Like the others on the list, Tresiba is a long-acting insulin that only has to be taken once a day. However, unlike the other insulins, adults can change the timing of their Tresiba doses. While other types of long-acting insulin need to be taken at the same time each day, if an adult misses their usual dose time or needs to change the timing of the dose, it will not affect how well the medication works or how long it takes to work. This is because Tresiba, which is insulin degludec, has been shown to work for up to 42 hours after 8 doses. Children, however, need to maintain a certain regimen until alternate dosing has been better studied in younger age groups.
Cost of Tresiba
The average price is around $560 per month. Tresiba is covered by most insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid. There are also several savings options for those who cannot afford their copays, including a savings card and a Novo Nordisk Patient Assistance Program which offers the medication for free to patients who qualify.
While it is good to know that there are so many new options available for those with diabetes, it is important to talk to your doctor before you change your insulin or your insulin dosages. Understanding how injectable insulin works with your body to control blood sugar is important. It is also important to pay attention to any potential side effects and to report them to the doctor as soon as possible. These side effects may include extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), rashes, and severe allergic reactions. There are several other new insulins being developed, but it will take some time before they are approved and released to the general market. In the meantime, if you and your doctor are not satisfied with your current insulin regimen, it is important to know that there are other options available.