We Asked, You Answered: What Keeps You From Taking Your Diabetes Medications?

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Diabetes Medications: Easier Said Than Done

If you're taking medications to manage your diabetes, then you've been there:

  • You forget to take your 2 metformin pills for the day.
  • Your insurance no longer covers your fast-acting insulin.
  • The new Glipizide pills you're supposed to take are too big to swallow.

The list goes on and on!

There are lots of different reasons that get in the way of us taking our diabetes medications. Not only have we heard them all, but we've experienced them firsthand here at One Drop.

And, because there are just so many different reasons for not taking our meds, we thought we'd hand the mic over to you! 

We all have our reasons, and we wanted to hear yours.

In one of our recent Newsfeed polls, we asked: 

What gets in the way of you taking your medications/insulin the most?

From the 1,861 of you who answered, from Slovakia to Egypt, and Qatar to France, and everywhere else in between, the resounding answer from 44% of you was... (drumroll, please 🥁): 

"I just get busy and forget."
- Gina

"Forgetting to take my insulin with me when I go out for day trips."
- Lee

"I get distracted and forget the evening doses. I have too many pills that must be taken different ways."
- Gale

Forgetting — Life Just Gets in the Way

BINGO! I cannot tell you the number of times I have forgotten to take my insulin! Whether it be basal or bolus, a once-a-day thing, or an every-mealtime thing.

I've had diabetes for 23 years and I still forget to take my daily Tresiba basal dose if I don't have some sort of reminder! It's just one of those human things -- we are forgetful.

Life gets in the way. Things happen.

Whatever the case, it seems that all of us have experienced this at one time or another. Does this scenario sound familiar?

“I would get right up to pushing the bolus button after testing and something would distract me. And, you guessed it, I would forget to take my bolus for my meal.”

I've certainly been there, done that. The exact same scenario exists for pill-taking, too!

You get ready to take your meds right on schedule, pull the pills out of the bottle, go to get your water, and... your phone rings!

There's always something. There's also an easy fix.

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Scheduling Meds in Your One Drop App

It's such an easy fix, it's almost too good to be true. But it's not! And with our new Personal Diabetes Assistant addition, we've made scheduling (multiple!) medication reminders even easier and more accessible.

It's quick and easy to do, and you can learn how to do it here (for iOS users) and here (for iOS & Android users).

  • Need to edit the date and time? 
  • Need to delete a med from your list? 

Done and done. You can update and edit your medication reminders at any time, right from your app. Because we get it, we all have to change our dosages and timing every now & then. 

For insulin-specific needs, there are also some pretty cool pen options out there.

For example, the Novopen Echo offers memory function: the pen tells you approximately when you took your last dose and what that dose was.

There's also the newly-FDA approved InPen, which has the same data memory capability and syncs that data right into your One Drop app.

Just take a look at Jeff using his!

Next Up: Cost 💰

"My diabetes medications are very expensive."

"The coverage of insulin is not the same. I used to test up to 4 times a day to have a better control of my glucose. I’m a Novolog (4-8 units) and Lantus (34 units) user, and for both, I’m paying over $300 monthly, which is way over my budget.” - Tito 

"Diabetes is crazy-expensive...money is the biggest obstacle for me, hands down.” - Kim

So technically, the 2nd spot goes to: nothing gets in the way of taking meds at all!

Which is phenomenal. 39% of you voted and told us there is absolutely nothing standing between you and your diabetes medications, you always take them when you're supposed to.

Now that is pure diabadass-ery. 👏

But in 3rd place, we saw roughly 5% of you say that it's the cost of your meds that keep you from taking them.

This is something we hear time and time again, and we know exactly what you're talking about. In fact, we did a diabetes supply cost breakdown of our own, where I racked up $11,000 worth of medications and supplies.

Medication costs are definitely a known problem. But there are some workarounds.

Diabetes Medication Costs: Pro-Tips

Wil Dubois, of DiabetesMine, recently responded to a fellow PWD about the skyrocketing cost of test strips. In his response, he points to the One Drop unlimited test strip package, and is quick to note that “Instead of limiting you, they actually encourage you to use more strips.


Because that is precisely one of the reasons we started One Drop. We know firsthand that costs get in the way of us effectively managing our diabetes. So what did we do about it? We created our own solution. Unlimited test strips. Done.

When it comes to insulin, this one is a head-banger. And one that does not have a perfect solution (maybe we should come up with that one, too? 🤔). 

But if you need insulin immediately and can't afford to buy the brand name options, you can always pick up insulin at Wal-Mart.

While it's a bit trickier to dose, the generic insulins available at Walmart (NPH, Regular, and 70/30) can be purchased for around $25 and do not need a prescription. 

I totally understand and agree that these insulins are not the answer. But, when in a monetary bind, these insulins can save a life.

Another bind you may find yourself in? If you've recently switched health insurance programs, the insulin you've been taking may no longer be covered. For example, if you've been taking Humalog for the last 5 years but you've recently switched health insurers, your Humalog may not be covered.

However, if you refer to your insurer's drug list (or formulary), you'll find the insulin that is covered. You'll just need to contact your doctor to get the new prescription.

You can also find yourself in this situation with the start of a new year, even if you haven't switched insurers. A new year can potentially mean an updated healthcare drug list - meaning, your insurer may no longer cover the type of insulin they covered just a few weeks ago.

Don't panic! Again, check out that that list to see what is covered, and get the new prescription. 

Additionally, you can ask your doctor for any insulin samples he or she may have, and go online to find insulin manufacturer coupons.

Many Patient Assistant Programs (PAPs) exist for this very reason. While these programs are not usually advertised and you will have to do some research to find out which one works in your specific case, you will more than likely be able to find one that does work for you.

DiaTribe has an extensive breakdown here about how you can get started on one. 

What Else Could There Be?

"My metformin can be tough to swallow - literally - due to the size of the pills. I have stomach issues and can’t swallow large pills. I tried crushing them to no avail.”
- Sara

There are plenty of other reasons for not taking medications. In fact, medication adherence is one of the biggest problems in diabetes management.

Fear of low blood sugars, weight gain, upset stomach, and other side-effects directly correlate to people not taking their medications. 

But what if... I constantly carry glucose tablets with me?

What if... I switch my way of thinking about insulin as a weight-gaining hormone to a life-saving hormone?

What if... I ask my doctor to prescribe me the alternative brand of meds that won't upset my stomach quite as much?

Typically, a fix can be found! And we at One Drop are here to help. Because we are right there with you. And we know all the hurdles you're facing and crushing, every single day. You've got this. 💥 

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Mary Elizabeth Adams
Mar 05, 2019

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