But last year, when the cost increased to
"I was limiting my carbs so I wouldn't have to give myself as much insulin," said Strank, who typically uses one or two vials a month.
About a quarter of people with Type 1 diabetes ration their insulin because of cost, according to a study published last week by T1International, which advocates for insulin access and affordability. Internationally, 18 percent of people with Type 1 diabetes reported rationing their medication at least once in the past year, exposing themselves to potentially serious complications.
"The prices of insulin are astronomical, and even patients with good insurance coverage are getting squeezed.... They're having to make choices. I see this every day in my practice," said
The T1International report reinforces findings in previous, smaller studies, including a letter by Yale researchers published in the
T1International used an online survey of 1,478 people in 90 countries, with 44 percent of participants from
In addition to rationing their medication, the survey found that patients commonly ration the testing supplies they use to manage diabetes. About 34 percent of respondents in all countries -- 39 percent in the
Rationing insulin is dangerous because it puts people with diabetes at higher risk of medical complications, including diabetic ketoacidosis, a severe complication that can lead to a coma or death if untreated, Schutta said.
"The thing that worries me is that we know definitively that glycemic control leads to reduced risk for complications," he said.
Patient outrage and physician concern over high prices have sparked a national debate about the cost of prescription drugs, including insulin.
The Trump administration said it wants drug makers to include prices in television ads and the issue is one that has received bipartisan attention in
In the meantime, patients are finding their own ways to cope. An increasingly popular option is to buy medications from international pharmacies, where prices are often much lower. Sometimes, international pharmacies have generic options not available in the
In a 2016 survey of 1,202 adults by the
Earlier this year, Strank joined the trend. Through a pharmacy in
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