Writing Blood Glucose Meter Prescriptions

Patients can purchase blood glucose meters over the counter without a prescription, although a prescription is required if the patient desires insurance coverage for the meter.  Blood glucose meters are usually covered under the durable medical equipment benefit, so sometimes insurance companies require that the meter be obtained from a specific vendor.  It is best to have the patient call their insurance company to see which meter and which vendor are preferred.  

Key elements to include on a meter prescription:
Name of Blood Glucose Meter
Sig:   # 1
Use as directed
Refills: 0


Writing Blood Glucose Meter Test Strip Prescriptions

Meter strips can also be purchased over the counter, but for insurance coverage, a script is needed.   Patients should check with their insurance company to determine which strip is preferred, as the co-pay amount can be significantly higher if a non-preferred strip is used.
 
Note that the sig “as directed” is not accepted by most major insurers; the number of strips being used per day will need to be written.  Strips come in boxes of 50 or 100, or multiples thereof. 

Blood glucose strips for Medicare patients are covered at 80% under the durable medical equipment coverage of Part B.  Special paperwork must be completed by the pharmacy for this coverage to go into effect. Medicare will only cover 1 strip per day for non-insulin users and 3 strips per day for insulin users.  

Key elements to include on a blood glucose test strip prescription:
Name of Blood Glucose Strip
Sig:  # of strips used per day
#:  Total number of strips
Refills: # or duration of refills

 
Writing for 3 month supplies of blood glucose test strips

It is important to calculate the number of test strips a patient will use to avoid their running out of supplies prior to their next scheduled refill.

Amount of checking Test strips needed for a 3-month supply
1x per day 100
2x per day 200
3x per day 300
4x per day 400

Writing Prescriptions For Lancets

Like meters and blood glucose test strips, lancets can be purchased over the counter, but for insurance coverage a prescription will be needed.   Each meter has its own lancet, so the name of the meter is usually the name of the lancet.   

Key elements to include on a lancet prescription:
Name of Blood Glucose Lancet
Sig:   # of lancets used per day
#:  Total number of lancets
Refills: # or duration of refills 



Writing Prescriptions for Insulin

Comparing Insulin Vials and Insulin Pens
1000 units in a vial 300 units in a pen
Used with syringes Used with pen needles
Available 1 vial at a time Available in boxes of 5
Use the rule of 11 to determine the 3-month supply Use the rule of 3 to determine the 3-month supply

Rule of 11: (for 3-month supply of insulin vials)

To figure out the number of vials needed for a 3-month supply, use the “Rule of 11.”  Put simply, the total daily units divided by 11 is the number of vials needed for a 3 month supply.

For example, if a patient takes 35 units of insulin a day, 35 ÷ 11 = 3.18
The patient will need more than 3 vials, so 4 vials will provide a 3-month supply.

Key elements to include on an insulin vial prescription:
Name of Insulin
Sig:   # of units per day
#:   Number of vials
Refills: # or duration of refills

 
Rule of 3: (for a 3-month supply of insulin pens)

To figure out the number of pens needed for a 3-month supply, use the “Rule of 3.”  Simply put, the total daily units divided by 3 is the number of pens needed for a 3-month supply.

For example, if a patient takes 35 units of insulin per day, 35 ÷ 3 = 11.6
The patient will need more than 11 pens. With 5 pens in a box, the patient will need 3 boxes of pens for a 3-month supply. 

Key elements to include on an insulin pen prescription:
Name of Insulin Pen
Sig: # of units per day
#:  Total number of pens
Refills: # or duration of refills
 

Writing Prescriptions for Insulin Syringes

The following must be included on any syringe prescription

Syringe size: 
0.3 cc (1/3 cc), holds up to 30 units of insulin, each line equals one unit of insulin
0.5 cc (1/2 cc), holds up to 50 units of insulin, each line equals one unit of insulin
1.0 cc syringe, holds up to 100 units of insulin, each line equals 1-2 units of insulin

Needle size:  
Thinner needles have a higher gauge; needles come in 28-gauge, 30-gauge or 31-gauge

Needle length:
Needles come in three different lengths 6mm (15/64"), 8mm (5/16") or 12.7 mm (½")

Sig: 
Number of times per day the patient is injecting

#: 
Need to include the number of syringes to be dispensed.  Syringes come in packages of 100.  For the patient injecting one time per day, one package will last for 3 months.

Key elements to include on an insulin pen prescription:
Name:  Insulin Syringes
Syringe Size: 1 cc, ½ cc, 1/3 cc, or 1/3 cc with half-unit scale
Needle Size:  28g, 29g, or 31g
Needle Length: 6mm, 8mm or 12.7 mm
Sig: # of syringes used per day
#:    Total number of syringes
Refills: # or duration of refills
 

Writing Prescriptions for Insulin Pen Needles

The following must be included on any pen needle prescription:

Needle size
Thinner needles have a higher gauge; pen needles come in 29 gauge, 31 gauge, or 32 gauge. 
The gauge can be smaller on a pen needle because it does not have to puncture the rubber stopper on an insulin vial.

Needle length
Pen needles come in 5 sizes: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 12.7 mm

Sig:
Number of times per day the patient is injecting

#:
Need to include the number of pen needles to be dispensed.  Pen needles come in boxes of 100.  For the patient injecting once a day, one package will last for 3 months.

Key elements to include on an insulin pen prescription:
Name:  Insulin Pen Needles
Needle Size: 29g, 31g or 32g
Needle Length: 4, 5, 6, 8, or 12.7 mm
Sig: # of pen needles per day
#:    Total number of pen needles
Refills: # or duration of refills

The Injection Training Tools provided above were independently developed by Joslin Diabetes Center, a nonprofit teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School (www.joslin.org). Joslin does not endorse products or services, including those of Becton Dickinson.  About Joslin

 



Important Note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

Unless otherwise noted, BD, BD logo and all other trademarks are property of Becton Dickinson and Company. © 2014 BD