Human Insulin: What People With Diabetes Should Know About Using Lower-Cost Insulin Formulations
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognizes that affordable access to insulin is a matter of life and death, every day for more than 7.5 million Americans with diabetes. It is important to note that human insulin is not “lower grade.” Rather, it is cheaper than analog insulins because it has been on the market since the 1980s, whereas newer analog insulins were introduced more recently in the mid-1990s.
Human insulin formulations include long-acting insulins like NPH, which has a duration of 8-12 hours, or regular insulin, which has a much quicker onset, as little as 30 minutes, and shorter duration. In select patients with proper monitoring, human insulin may be an option for those who struggle with affording their medications.
In our white paper, published in Diabetes Care, we acknowledge that prescribing patterns have favored newer, more expensive insulins, and acknowledge that human insulin may be an appropriate alternative to more expensive analog insulins for some people with diabetes. We recommend providers “prescribe the lowest-priced insulin required to effectively and safely achieve treatment goals,” which may include using human insulin in selected patients.