Discontinued Insulins for Diabetic Cats

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The right medication is vital to regulate your diabetic cat properly; however, market forces mean that insulin types are constantly being introduced and discontinued so you need to keep up with what insulin is available.

Substitutes for Humulins U and L, pork Iletin

In 2005, Eli Lilly announced that it discontinued production of Iletin® II Pork Insulin (Regular and NPH®formulations), and Humulin® U Ultralente® and Humulin® L Lente® (Humulin U and Humulin L) insulin products. There are limited supplies of these insulins still available, but feline diabetic caregivers and their veterinarians will need to find substitutes.

As of July 6, 2005, Lilly announced that it is discontinuing production of Iletin® II Pork Insulin (Regular and NPH®formulations), and Humulin®U Ultralente® and Humulin®L Lente®(Humulin U and Humulin L)****; insulin products. For more information about these products, please visit .

Beef derived PZI is rapidly becoming the insulin of choice among veterinarians treating cats with diabetes. The insulin is expensive per bottle but smaller doses are usually required so cost per dose is approximately the same. You must obtain PZI through your veterinarian or through mail/on-line ordering after obtaining a prescription from your vet. A PZI source list is maintained on this site.

Other long-acting insulins that you may want to consider are Lantus (generic name is glargine) and Levemir (generic: detemir). NPH (N) insulin is for humans and is a very poor choice for cats with diabetes but your vet may still recommend this insulin. To quote Dr. Deborah Greco, a leading veterinary endocrinolgist, “There is no rationale at all for using NPH in a cat. Period.”

Check the expiration date on your bottle of discontinued insulin. At this time, it is most likely more than 12 months past the expiration date. Discard this insulin, even if unopened. It will not maintain its activity longer than 12 months past the expiry date and will be ineffective in treating diabetes.

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