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June 26, 2001

Hypoglycemia, Insurance/Costs

Question from Toronto, Canada:

As an individual with type 1 diabetes, I am well aware that candy, juice, soda pop, etc. is as vital to my condition -- and my life -- as insulin. However, I do not think that my endocrinologist would be willing to write a prescription for "Lifesavers" candies, various fruit juices (the portable tetra-pak kind), and Coca-Cola. While he might write me a prescription for "Dextrosol" or other sugar tablets that seem more "medicinal" in nature, I much prefer to ingest juice and soda pop because sugar tablets are difficult to open when I am having a hypoglycemic episode, would decay my teeth if I chewed them each time I experienced a low blood sugar, and are not as fast-acting as juice and Coke -- at least not in my bloodstream. I am wondering if physicians can write prescriptions for hypoglycemic aids that I can claim through a medical plan.


Since these foods are available in the market, I do not imagine that you could get either a tax deduction or have a physician write a prescription for them. You can buy these items in bulk and that will cost less.You might want to try the glucose tabs that are orange-flavored and open up a package and put them in a snack-size plastic bag in your purse. Then they are easily available.

Hopefully hypoglycemia is not occurring more than once or twice a week, so the use of glucose tabs should not harm your teeth at all. If you have more frequent hypoglycemia you should probably schedule a visit with your diabetes team to discuss changes in your medication or how it is taken.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

None of these items require prescriptions so writing one will not get them covered by insurance companies. However, you should save your receipts because they are certainly part of your treatment and therefore tax deductible if you buy enough of them to meet the tax guidelines each year.