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Question:

From Faridabad-Haryana, India:

Which is better human insulin like Human Monotard or its animal version? I am concerned about some of the issues brought up by the insulin dependent diabetes trust.

Does animal insulin actually reverse the problem created by injecting human insulin in the longer period? If your answer is yes, then why is it not available now? The insulin cartel stopped manufacturing it two years ago. Finally, which insulin is better? I am concerned about the side effects, such as weight gain, memory loss, fatigues, etc.

Answer:

None of the worries you have about source of insulin is reality. The purer the insulin and the closer to human insulin, generally, the fewer side effects. Before we could synthesize insulin, we used pork insulin (differs from human insulin by one amino acid) or cow insulin (differs from human insulin by three amino acids). As long as there were plenty of pigs and/or cows, the processing was fairly straightforward and had been perfected for many decades. Then, we learned how to chemically change these highly purified animal-source insulins to human insulin in the 1970s. Then, we learned how to synthesize insulin using either yeast or bacteria by inserting genes into these organisms and then purifying their products. Lastly, we have made insulin analogs, which not only are synthetic, but also act faster than the other kinds of insulin and so mimic much closer how insulin is supposed to work in relation to food. So, we have come a long way in the past 30 years with fewer allergic reactions, better insulin responsively, etc. The cost has gone up, however, all around the world. Some manufacturers still make animal-source insulin and sell it less expensively than the newer insulins. Many manufacturers donate billions of dollars of insulins to parts of the world where it would not otherwise be available at all. More recently, some manufacturers have stopped producing insulins that were not being used so much any more. Some would cynically say that this was related to lower profitability compared to the newer insulins. Some would also say that the newer insulins, while more expensive, are also more effective. The big problem related to diabetes care, however, is the large costs needed for appropriate modern management i.e., blood glucose testing frequently each day, meal planning, appropriate education and psychosocial support for such ongoing behaviors without much respite and, also, the costs of insulin and syringes/pens/pumps.

SB

DTQ-20060221041136
Original posting 8 Mar 2006
Posted to Insulin

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:06
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