Here's an update on what I've learned about Pork Insulin since last week. If you missed that discussion, I had learned that many people have adverse reactions to today's synthetic, "analog" insulins, and these quickly disappear with going back to the old "pork" standard which is still available from England.
If you have any of these problems, or don't notice when your sugar is getting low, read on!
joint and muscle pains
general feeling of being unwell
"brittle" condition or unaware of low sugars
My best resource has become e-mailing with Jinny Hurst at the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust in Britain. Her daughter had problems with analog insulin years ago and had immediate success reverting to pork-based insulins. Their website is www.iddtinternational.org .
They have a monthly newsletter you can subscribe to online or by mail. They also have an info packet for people who are considering converting to help you approach your doctors, who generally are very resistant to going "backward" to pork. This packet will be sent on request but is not online at the moment.
I have also been in touch with Wockhart Labs, which produces the pork insulin. They told me the insulin is fine for use with an insulin pump, and Jinny noted that the original pumps were made to be used with pork and beef. There is no problem with tubes clogging. The pork insulin is also more stable than the synthetic analogs like Humalog, so are fine in the reservoir. I currently get six days per reservoir, so will be able to continue that on pork.
While pork insulin is cheaper to produce than the analog insulins in use now, it is very expensive to buy. Mostly because it has to be imported from Britain. In Canada I can get it at Costco for $99/vial, and some online sites range from $114 to $124. I'm sure the price in the US is even higher, given the steep price for Humalog there versus here.
Pork insulin is slower acting than Humalin R, Novalin R and Humalog, so pump users to have to adjust for that difference when giving boluses, but your pump can easily be reprogrammed to figure out what your insulin on board is for delivering boluses.
The link for the report on problems with synthetic insulins can be found at:
Years ago I became aware of a sorta radical "anti" synthetic organization here in the states that was protesting Eli Lilly discontinuing their beef and pork insulins. They've disappeared since then, so I was greatly relieved to learn of the very well-organized trust in England that is carrying on educating people that we are NOT nuts to feel like walking zombies. Some of us really do not do well on synthetic! I've had horrible experiences with both Lantus and Levemir, so will be contacting my medical team to try the pork for a few weeks and see how I feel. Generally people feel an immediate change, so hoping that will be the case for me. I need my energy for my 3 and 5 year old kids!!!
Lisa in Ontario
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