Welcome to Diabetes in Spain

Hi and welcome to Diabetes in Spain.

With 11 years of Type 1 Diabetes under his belt, he felt it was important to persons with Diabetes in Spain to have access to as much information as possible. Therefore the site was born!

The intention also, is to bring together global Diabetes news and resources for everyone’s benefit whether the visitor has Diabetes or not.

We @ Diabetes in Spain are very open to a community effort and will actively encourage the input, feedback, advice and help from all possible areas.

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48 Responses to Welcome to Diabetes in Spain

  1. Mike April 17, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Well done Mike.. Great site too!! 🙂

  2. mary lennon May 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    hi mike.great to find a site .now know im not alone outhere on insulin.am from ireland moved to huescar ,granada last june.definitely much better living here stll using loads of insulin but much healthier.will watch site with great interest good health mary

    • Mike May 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

      Hi Mary
      Thanks for stopping by. I do hope that the site is a “real” benefit to you and your diabetes management/lifestyle, but I am to make it clear that I/we can’t replace the professional care from you local nurse/doctor/consultant etc..
      If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to get in via the comments section or directly [email protected].

  3. Kathi Koble May 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    Hello Mike, I am on the 2nd month of a one year vacation. I have type 2 diabetes and as you can imagine I have brought a lot of supplies and medication with me. That in itself is another story. Today however, I went to a pharmacy to buy alcohol swabs to use with my Byetta and insulin. The people in there looked at me like I was crazy. I am sure that people in Spain disenfect the area before they use these products.

    My question is what are alcohol swabs called in Spain, and/or do they do this some other way?
    Please let me know.



    • Mike May 13, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Kathi

      Many thanks for stopping by.

      Whilst I know what you are asking for I have not used any whilst I have been in Spain, approx 7 years..

      I’ll make some enquiries and see If I can find out for you..



      • Kathi May 20, 2009 at 11:58 am #

        Thanks, I’m still trying to find them, any help you can provide would be appreciated.

      • Kathi May 28, 2009 at 11:23 am #

        Mike, Success I found my alcohol swabs. In Spain they are called “toallitas con alcohol” the brand is Isoclean OTC.

        It took a little bit of ingenuity and a few minutes at the translator on my computer but I got there.

        Also a very common thing for cleaning wounds in the states is Hydrogen Peroxide, here in Spain the same product is simply called H2O2.

        Thanks for your support, and I hope this will help someone else down the road.

  4. Mike May 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Great News!

    Thanks for letting us all know.


  5. Celia June 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi Mike – what a great site!
    I moved here with hubby and daughter last June 2008 – i am Type 1 diabetic – and have about 1 1/2 yr supplies of insulin and supplies left – i brought a Novopen to take my Humalog Lispro during the day – and a spare – but am now on a spare – does anyone know where i can get another Novopen here – i also have to sort doctors out – i live in duquesa – any suggestions where to go – thanks for your help!

  6. jo barham June 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    my husband has diabetes and whilst on holiday has fallen ill. He is in the hospital and the nurses are regularly testing his blood sugar levels. Please could you tell me how they measure the levels here as my husband regularly has perhaps 8, 9, or 10 at home and they measure in the hundreds here well average 150? We are confused

    many thanks Jo

    • Mike June 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

      Hi Jo
      Over in Spain they use the same measurements as in the USA and many more countries.

      Simply multiply your UK reading by 18 (8 m/mol = 144)
      then divide by 18 from the readings your husband gets in hospital.

      Hope you husband is ok. Feel free to get in touch if you require any further info.

  7. Geoff July 23, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    I’m type 2 diabetes, first diagnosed in 1992, I have been on insulin now since April 2008.

    I’m 62 (just) and hope to retire in December 2010.

    We plan to retire to Spain hopefully the Valencia region somewhere inland a bit between Valencia and Alicante (we have family already in this region)

    My question is, since I will be 18 months from my pensionable age of 65, How will I be able to get my diabetic prescriptions (insulin, metformin, needles test strips etc.). I presume I must pay for them, wheras in UK they are free.

    Also what healthcare will i be entitled to, Will I have to take out insurance initially.

    Many thanks in advance for your help


    • mike July 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

      Geoff hi

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Right then at the moment the situation for expats in the Valencia region remains a little unclear and as such would not wish to confuse the issue at the moment. This applies to persons who have retired but are not entitled to full Spanish NHS health as they do not posses the E121.

      You will be eligible for a E106 and you can apply at the Dept. Work & Pensions in Newcastle. Typically these allow for full medical coverage including family medicine, emergency medicine, related tests and prescriptions. However these are temporary and can vary in length from 1 year to 2 years.

      My suggestion would be to organise some health checks before you leave for Spain. Perhaps suggest that you are going to Spain for 6 months to escape the cold weather and ask to be provided with medicines for that period and in doing so will allow you time to organise health care in Spain.

      My thoughts are; If you have enough insulin/tablets and so forth to last a certain period then the E106 can then take over until you are eligible for the E121.

      As a last resort, you can purchase over the counter Insulin, Tablets, Test Strips without the need for a doctors prescription. It is expensive though, however it is possible to get your money back once you have a prescription/note from a NHS doctor. Example: I use a Accu-Chek Aviva Monitor. (Test strips retail at €43.59 for a box of 50.)

      Ref: Insurance. There are many programs here to insure yourself. You would be able to enlist the services of doctors and various specialists however your prescription charges will be the same.

      Without wanting to complicate things, I have left it at that.
      If I can be of further help, feel free to get in touch. Either via the site or email – [email protected]

      Mike 🙂

  8. Geoff July 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi Mike

    Many thanks for your prompt reply.

    I had done some research on the E121 & E 106 route, and I think that that is the way to go, I must admit I hadn’t thought of the 6 months holiday idea, sounds good and will give me time.
    It is good to know that if I do get stuck I can get supplies, albeit at a cost.

    Many thanks


    • mike July 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

      Hi Geoff

      Your very welcome.

      Look forward to hearing from you again.


  9. Reg Lovell December 21, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    Hello Mike

    Just found this great site. I am type 2 diabetic. I manage to make myself understood at our local clinic, but would welcome someone to chat with, do you know if there are any regular meetings held in the Torrevieja area whereI could go to for information and support.

    Many thanks

    • elizabeth rogers October 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Hi mike I’m coming to furterventa for 3 months can I buy metformin over the counter and do you know how much they are I am type 2. Thanks liz

      • Mike October 10, 2015 at 11:55 am #

        Hi Liz.. Thanks for stopping by.

        Yes you can obtain Metformin over the counter, however with the many varieties that are available I would not be able to guide you to a price. If you wanted to email with more detailed info on your medication/s that I can look in those for you.

        Hope that helps


  10. Richard Murphy February 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    Do you have any advice (or links) regarding the level of support diabetics get in Tenerife?
    My wife is a type 1 diabetic and we are thinking of moving to Tenerife later this year for work.
    The only thing holding us back is not knowing the level of support she’d receive or the costs involved.
    Do insulin dependents get free prescriptions as they do in the UK?
    Seems a little crazy to me that anyone needing a life sustaining medication could be refused

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can give and well done for putting this site together….. Fantastic!!!


    • Mike March 9, 2010 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Richie

      I’m currently in the process of creating a FAQ’s so will reply to you personally when that is published.

      Please bear in mind that the Spanish Healthcare System does work slightly different to the UK NHS.

      However please do have a read through some of the other comments left on this post – http://www.diabetesinspain.com/featured/welcome-to-diabetes-in-spain/



  11. Karl March 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Hola. I found this site whilst looking for information about diabetes in Spain. I’m moving there in several months and am naturally quite concerned about the effect the move may have on my sugar levels and overall health. I’m an insulin dependent diabetic. Does anyone have any info or links where I can find information about diabetes care in Spain and also costs etc. I’m British so currently get ‘free” prescriptions on the NHS. Thanks.

  12. Karl March 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Oh, I forgot to say I’m aged 28 and plan to study for a month and then work over there (though it’s possible the work may be unpaid, depending on where I get accepted), if that makes any difference.
    Is it best to try and bring as many supplies with me? It sounds good in theory, but airport security is always a pain, then trying to keep the insulin cool, etc.
    Would be good to hear from people who have done this, or are already living (and possibly studying/working) over there. Thanks again.

    • Mike March 9, 2010 at 9:21 am #

      Karl Hi

      I’ll list my thoughts for you below;

      *Generally speaking, you will be fine, as with any situation where there is upheaval, it simply calls for closer monitoring until such a time you are happy with the levels you need/want.

      *Airport security can be tricky although steps to minimise disruption would include; ID Card, Medical Bracelets/Tags, Letter from Hospital/GP denoting that you have to carry insulin etc..

      * Whilst travelling, your insulin will be fine at normal room temp. Please do not place any of your supplies that you take in to the hold baggage. 1) The temps. will freeze the insulin and test strips. 2) If the bags get lost you will be without insulin.

      * Depending on the duration of your trip, I would suggest asking you GP for supplies that will keep you going for up to 6 months. Most will accommodate this is asked nicely and explained what, why ,where etc..

      * In Spain unless you are the holder of either a E106 or E121(Pensioners) you will only be entitled to Free Medical Care if you work and/or pay in to the social security

      * On that note, there are plenty of private clinics if you were to become unwell, travel insurance may be of help for this and for your information Insulin and Test strips are available over the counter without the need for a doctors prescription.

      Hope the above helps and if you have further questions, please get in contact directly – [email protected]


  13. Pamela October 4, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Hello Mike, My daughter will be attending university in Madrid for 1 1/2 years, from the US. She’s type 1. She’ll be covered by some type of insurance from the school, but it sounds like it doesn’t cover any medications. The cost of having to pay for insulin and test strips without a prescription will really be expensive. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? Can we buy some extra insurance there to cover this? Thanks!

    • Mike October 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      Hi Pamela
      Will be in touch directly very soon.

  14. Lynn Sibley April 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Hola, I am planning to visit Spain for a long vacation. If I run low on insulin (I take both lantus and humalog), can I buy more at a pharmacy in Spain? I have medical insurance, but it won’t cover anything out of the US.

    Thank you for helping me. Needing insulin (I am Type 1) is critical, as you know.

    Gracias, Lynn

  15. Sheila July 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi Mike, can you help? My partner aged 68 had been to the Doctors with stomach problems. After an xray and eco scans which came back clear the Doc took blood and urine tests as he has been under a consultant at Torrevieja Hospital for a couple of years due to a high PSA reading and the Doctor wondered if his problems were anything to do with this. Very surprisingly the results came back with a significant drop in his PSA reading but a high sugar reading. The Doc has given him Velmetia tablets which according to the internet are for type 2 diabetes. The Doc didn’t actually say he had this and as its not a spanish illness we don’t know where to go for information and check that he has diabetes type 2. He hasn’t been asked to check his sugar levels (not that we would know how to do that) but was asked to make an appointment to see a ‘diet’ nurse but the earliest appointment is beginning of October. Can you point us in the right direction please. Many thanks

  16. carmen November 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi Mike,
    My name is Carmen, I’m 29 and I’m a type 1 diabetic. Me and my husband are thinking to take a year off and move to Tenerife. As I’ve seen in the conversations above the treatment for diabetes is not free in Spain, do you know how much it will cost me for the insulin, test strips, needles?

  17. margaret robinson May 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Hi Mike,
    My husband has been offered a job over in spain and we are planning to move there , I am just a bit worried as we are both type 2 diabetic’s and are unsure of how to get our prescriptions over there, any help would be great as I am unsure of how to go about things and neither of us are retirement age yet .

  18. Zowye August 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi! I was wondering how much is the cost of Lantus/Levemir in Spain just in case my insulin vial gets broken or I run out.

  19. Amanda Belmonte March 14, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    i live in thr canary islands and have done for 14 years ..i am type 2 diabetic and i can tell you that if you are in the Spanish system ..as in social security you can get all your prescription needs for pennies ..I am a resident of the canary islands which allows me to register at my local doctors surgery …centro de salud … i get my prescriptions and all products from the chemist .its not free but the system is cheap …example ..I was given for.free by my surgery a new one touch glucose meter …the strips are provided in prescription ..at full price they sell for 45.00 euro ..with the prescription they are 45 cents!!! Per box of 50.
    I am not sure how the social system works for retirees but i you are also entitled to register at the doctors even if you are not working and paying in as long as you are resident of your community. Hope this helps a few people wondering if they need to stash months of medication from the uk ..If u plan staying more than 3 months then register at your local ayuntamiento and get your empadronamiento that will enabale you to use the social security system ..and obtain all your medicines at low cost .

  20. Karen January 28, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    Hi I was wondering in Spain, is there something like the insulin passport in UK? A booklet or Health card something alike which have all the information on the insulin prescribed.

    • Mike January 29, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by. As far as I know there is nothing in place like the NHS Safe Use of Insulin Passport here in Spain. However as the prescriptions are now digitally managed a list of currents medications are kept up to date.

  21. Kenu February 23, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    Hi Mike, we are on holiday here for a week and my husband’s metformin tablets got lost somewhere in our transit from UK to Spain. His sugar levels are quite high. Wondered if we could buy metformin here over the counter. He is type 2 diabetic by the way.

    • Mike February 24, 2015 at 1:10 am #

      Hi. Yep, you should be able to purchase extra medication without a medical prescription from pretty much any “Farmacia”.
      Hope that helps. Good luck.

  22. Lee April 26, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Hi Mike
    im type 2 ,thinking of spending at least 3 months at a time in Spain, I need to take quite a few pills ,Metformin, Gliclazide, Candersartin , Amlodipine, Pioglitazone Atorvastatin would I be able to purchase these over the counter when and if the need arises? would I just need to show my repeat prescription? Any Idea of the cost please?
    Many Thanks

  23. John September 7, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    I am trying to control or treat my type 2. I have been reading a lot online about the solutions out there. I came across this website http://www.treatingtype2diabetes.com that talks about a guide on how to treat diabetes type 2. They present a video they claim has successfully helped over 13.700 people treat their diabetes type 2.

    Has anyone heard about this method they present? I would be happy to hear from anyone who has any idea of this. [email protected]

  24. Austin Smith September 26, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    Hi Mike, I’m type 1 diabetic and I’ve just moved to Zaragoza for University. My university in England has provided little to no guidance on setting up a prescription/getting more medical supplies. I have an EHIC card, a copy of my medical exemption certificate, and my prescriptions from the UK but am unsure about how to get more supplies in the coming months. any advice would be great 🙂

    • Mike October 10, 2015 at 11:52 am #

      Hey Austin. Thanks for getting in touch. My advice would be to get in touch with the Health Care in Spain team who are based at the Consulates in Madrid and Alicante. http://healthcareinspain.eu/contact-us/

      They will be placed to advise how you would potentially register for a doctor at a local clinic therefore enabling you to make sure your supplies are topped up if required or if anything crops up whilst you are in Zaragoza.

      Hope that helps

  25. Steve Earle February 3, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    I am now living in Rojales on the Costa Blanca and have type 2 Diabetes and am now insulin dependent both Lantus and the fast acting type
    What is available on the spanish health system

  26. Cari February 24, 2016 at 1:33 am #

    Hi Mike. My mom is on holiday from the Caribbean in Tenerife and just realised she didn’t take enough tablets. She has a prescription. Is it possible to take it to the pharmacy to get some more!?

  27. Carla April 22, 2016 at 12:28 am #

    Hi Mike, My two kids are both type 1 diabetic they are 21 and 12 years old. We will be moving to Alicante in July, can you offer me any advice at all in regards to whether private health insurance will be best to cover the cost of their medications. I have also been informed that we can make voluntary contributions to the Spanish healthcare system to get a reduction in the cost of the prescriptions. I would be grateful for any advice at all.

  28. Lisa August 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    I am currently on a pump with a sensor that tells me what my blood sugars are every minute of the day by just looking at the pump. Is it possible to continue using this if I move to Spain?

  29. Bry January 4, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Hi. We are coming to work in Spain for 6 months but will still be employed on the uk payroll for 6 months. If I git pregnant in that 6 months would I be covered for all the extra diabetic eye and blood tests you need to have while pregnant or would I need to take out private insurance? After 6 months will be employed under Spanish but I am also trying to get pregnant now.

  30. Robert May 15, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    I am type 1 using an insulin pump (Animas Ping) and continuous glucose monitor (Dexcom). Are supplies for these available in Spain, would I need a prescription and would you know the cost of supplies?

  31. John clayton July 31, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    Hi mike,I have just stopped taking metformin due to the side affects ,my doctor in uk has put me on gliclazide.can I buy it over the counter in Spain without a prescription.

    • Mike August 3, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      Hi John. Yep you should be able to obtain your medication over the counter fairly easily. Mike

  32. Mike O April 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

    Hi Mike , do you have names of any good private health insurance? costs? to include Diabetes type 2? My wife and I are 62 and we are checking whether worthwhile to transfer on to Spain Health via E106 . Is the only way to get this if you are paying social security as an Autonimo?

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