Over half of people living with type 1 diabetes are worried about the cost of hypo treatments, our research shows. Therefore, we’ve put together a guide of online prices to help you see how much some products cost, and how much it would cost to treat a hypo.
Our Cost of Living survey sought to understand the challenges faced by people living with diabetes, amid soaring energy and food prices. This was an online survey distributed in November 2022.
In total, we received 6,490 responses from people living with any form of diabetes, or who had been told that they are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes or have received a diagnosis of prediabetes.
If you’re feeling concerned about the cost of hypo treatments, it’s important to note that the price of a treatment does not impact how effective it is. As long as the product contains 15-20g of fast-acting carbohydrates, it should be an effective initial hypo treatment for adults. Children may need less than this depending on their weight.
It’s also important to know that the type of hypo treatment and amount depends on what works best for you, and you can talk to your diabetes team about this.
To help you see how much hypo treatments can cost, we’ve put together a reference list for the online prices of some commonly used treatments.
How much do hypo treatments cost?
These are five examples of treatments which you can use to treat a hypo immediately, with online price guides (correct at the time of writing) taken from Trolley.co.uk
In these examples, the number of hypo treatments per product is based on one treatment containing approximately 20g of fast-acting carbohydrate.
These prices shown are only applicable online and may be different when you visit stores. Check the food label to see how much carbohydrate is in the product as manufacturers reformulate products from time to time.
1. Glucose & dextrose tablets
- Product cost: A 2-pack of Dextro Energy glucose tablets (94g total) is available for £1.30 at Ocado, rising to £1.50 at Sainsbury’s.
- How many hypo treatments per product?: Each 2-pack contains 4 hypo treatments. This is based on each single 47g pack containing 90g of fast-acting carbohydrate per 100g.
- Cost per hypo treatment: 33p if you buy from Ocado at £1.30. There are 14 tablets in one pack. This means that an effective initial hypo treatment of 20g carbohydrate would equate to roughly seven tablets, or half a pack.
2. Jelly Babies
- Product cost: A 190g bag of Jelly Babies costs £1.50 at a variety of retailers, including Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
- How many hypo treatments per product?: Each bag contains 7 hypo treatments. This is based on the listed nutritional value that four sweets contain approximately 21g of carbs (and weigh 26g).
- Cost per hypo treatment: The cost per hypo treatment is 21p, at a product cost of £1.50.
3. A glass (250ml) of a sugary (non-diet) drink
- Product cost: A 500ml bottle of Lucozade costs £1.60 at Iceland, rising to £1.70 at Morrisons.
- How many hypo treatments per product?: Each bottle contains 2 hypo treatments. This is based on each 500ml bottle containing 44g of carbohydrates.
- Cost per hypo treatment: The cost per hypo treatment is 80p, at a product cost of £1.60.
4. A glass (200ml) of pure fruit juice
- Product cost: A 300ml bottle of Tropicana Fruit Juice costs £1.65 at Morrisons, rising to £1.90 at Waitrose.
- How many hypo treatments per product?: Each bottle contains 1 effective hypo treatment. This is based on nutritional values of 9.3g per 100ml. A 300ml bottle (27g carbohydrate) would contain enough carbohydrate to effectively treat one hypo, with around 100ml remaining.
- Cost per hypo treatment: The cost per hypo treatment is £1.65, at a product cost of £1.65 (which reduces to £1.10 per hypo treatment if you buy two bottles)
5. One tube of a Lift Juice Shot
- Product cost: A 60ml Lift Juice Glucose Shot (formerly known as Glucojuice) is available at both Amazon and Superdrug for £1.59.
- How many hypo treatments per product?: Each bottle contains 1 hypo treatment. This is based on each 60ml bottle containing 15g of carbohydrate.
- Cost per hypo treatment: The cost per hypo treatment is £1.59, at a product cost of £1.59.
What else did the Cost of Living Survey find?
Four in five people living with diabetes said that the rising cost of living had impacted the way they manage their diabetes.
There was not too much difference between how the rising of cost of living impacted those living with type 1 or type 2, but the affordability of hypo treatments saw a big difference.
51% of people living with type 1 diabetes said that they were worried about the cost of hypo treatments. In comparison, this figure was 12% for people living with type 2 diabetes, who might be less likely in general to experience a hypo, or experience hypos less frequently.
Are you worried about hypo treatment costs?
You might be able to get hypo treatments like glucose gel, glucose tablets and dextrose tablets on prescription - you can talk to your diabetes team about this. They can also give you advice about how much to take and which treatment to choose.
Stephanie Kudzin, Nutritionist at Diabetes UK, said:
“It is clear from the Cost of Living survey that more people with diabetes are worried about the cost of hypo treatments than before. However there are some more affordable options which can be just as effective in treating a hypo.
“If you are thinking of changing your hypo treatment to a cheaper alternative, speak to your diabetes team and make sure it contains 15 to 20g of fast acting carbohydrate in order to be effective.”
If you have any questions or concerns about treating hypos you can ring our helpline on 0345 123 2399.