What It Costs To Treat the Different Types of Diabetes

Diabetes drawing blood

There are two main types of diabetes with those being Type 1 and Type 2. There are some other more rare types that affect people throughout the world, some of which are sub-types of one of the main types, and others are combinations of the two. The cost of the the most effective medications for some types of diabetes can be extremely high. It seems that the prices are continuing to soar out of control and those who do not have medical insurance coverage can find themselves in the situation of needing to chose between buying their medication or paying a bill, or worse yet, buying groceries. Some types of diabetes are more expensive to treat than others, and the milder forms don’t cost much at all. Here are the types of diabetes that are the most expensive to treat.

Type 2 Diabetes

The pharmaceutical industry offers several new diabetes treatments which are designed to cut down on the risks that were formerly associated with some of the older medications, yet even the new ones carry their own set of risks. For example, the drug Victoza is claimed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues and cut down on the risk of death. Behind this drug another called Jardiance was developed to show even more promise in trials to aid in the lessening of cardiovascular events while treating type 2 diabetes. While this is good news, the costs associated with these medications are high. The price of 30 tablets of Jardiance is $523.00 and you don’t save much by going with the 90 tablet option for $1,552.10, while Victoza can cost as much as $1,103.00 for a carton of 3 18 mg pens. Without insurance coverage or other types of discounts, the price can be prohibitive and impossible for some sufferers to afford.

Treatments for Type 1 Diabetes

For people who have Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, there are two drugs which have been shown effective as treatments. Humalog, the brand name for insulin lispro has been in the headlines as a Type 1 Diabetes treatment that went from $92.70 per vial to $274.70 almost tripling in price. The drug is made by Eli Lilly and it is one of the most popular insulins on the market today. Those who have good medical coverage receive a significant discount on the price, but those without must pay the full price and there have been those who have lost their lives simply because they couldn’t afford their medication.

Lantus is another insulin that is used in the treatment of diabetes type 1 and 2. There is no generic for this drug and the costs can soar up to $450 per carton of pens. Some internet sites offer coupons which discount these drugs and without insurance some can even find it as low as $260. Those who are prescribed this long acting treatment for controlling their blood sugar levels who have insurance generally only pay the co-payment which ranges between $37.50 to $67.50, depending on the type of coverage.

Other types of diabetes

There are a few other types of diabetes such as Gestational Diabetes which occurs during pregnancy, and abates after childbirth. Double diabetes is the type that is a combination of type 1 and type 2, occurring when a person with type 1 is insulin resistant. Type 3 diabetes is diagnosed when there is a resistance in the brain to insulin. Finally, there is diabetes insipidus which is very rare and causes excessive thirst and urination. The goal of treatment is to relieve the excessive urination, paradoxically through the use of diuretics or water pills that help to reduce urination in those suffering with the condition. In addition, anti inflamatory medications are also used with a controlled low salt diet that is also low in protein and reduces the output of urine. The cost of treating this type of diabetes averages $18.00 per month.

Why expensive treatments are prescribed

Some physicians will prescribe one drug over all of the rest because he or she is familiar with the patient’s individual health history and current situation. Everyone is different and some treatments are better suited than others to address certain health conditions. This is why so many physicians prescribe a drug that offers the most amount of benefits, the fewer risks and cost is not always something that is considered when it comes to the well-being of the patient. Of course if the drug is unaffordable, the prescription for it will do no good. Often physicians are not as concerned with the patient’s ability to pay for a treatment as they are in prescribing the best option. This is why it’s important for patients to speak up and make it known in case there might be an alternative treatment that is offered at a lower cost.

Final thoughts

The treatments for type 2 diabetes are the most expensive currently, but type 1 is not far behind. From what we’ve seen, There are some medications that are suitable for treating both types and the various combined forms of diabetes along with their sub types as well. Those who have good insurance coverage usually have a good portion of the cost of these medications covered, but those who have no coverage often cannot afford to get their prescriptions filled, and they live with the conditions the best that they can, generally with negative health outcomes and at times, dying from the lack of treatment. Type 1 diabetes has more treatment options and although many of the medications used to treat this condition are also expensive, some are a little less in price and there are more options. The high cost of treating diabetes has been an ongoing issue for decades and so far, there have been no solid solutions proposed.


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