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Lilly answers questions about using prefilled pens

Diabetes Monitor
Diabetes Self Management
Wikipedia, "Insulin Pens"


Wikipedia.com

This article is part of a series on insulin pens

Part 1
Information about Insulin
Pens

What is an insulin pen?
Advantages of Using a Pen
Disadvantages of Using a Pen
Where to Buy Insulin Pens'
How to Use an Insulin Pen
Types of Insulin Pens Available

Part 2
Step-by-step Guide to
Using Insulin
Pens

Choosing An Injection Site
Rotating Injection Sites
Giving the Injection
Sharps Disposal
Troubleshooting & Tips
Links

Part 3 (Shots & Pens)
How to Inject Insulin

Choosing An Injection Site
Rotating Injection Sites
Giving the Injection
Sharps Disposal
Troubleshooting & Tips
Links



NovoFine Insulin Pen

See "Step-By-Step Guide to Using an Insulin Pen" for detailed instructions on injecting with insulin pens.


type 1 diabetes  
Dr Charles Fox
Type 1 Diabetes:  It is an incredible book, which deals in depth with every detail of diabetes care in young people.  Dr. Fox is consultant physician at Northampton General Hospital, UK.


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Diabetes treatment options - insulin delivery devices

Information about insulin pens


Mini Site Index
What is an insulin pen?
Advantages of Using an Insulin Pen
Disadvantages of Using an Insulin Pen
Where to Buy Insulin Pens'
How to Use an Insulin Pen
Types of Insulin Pens Available

Related Information
Insulin Delivery Devices
Conventional vs. Intensive (Flexible) Insulin Therapy
Types of Insulin
Shot Therapy

What is an insulin pen?

An insulin pen is an insulin delivery (injection) device for the treatment of diabetes.  An insulin pen is comprised of disposable needles, a vial of insulin, and the pen portion which the needle is screwed into and houses the insulin cartridge.

A number of companies make insulin pens including Novo Nordisk, Aventis and Eli Lilly. These companies produce pens for most their insulins, including Humalog (also known as insulin lispro) and Lantus (see more below). But there are only two different types of systems:

  • Disposable (throw away when empty)
  • Reusable pens - (also called replaceable cartridge pen or nondisposable) reuses the pen portion. When the insulin is empty, the vial is simply replaced by inserting a new one (or a refillable insulin cartridge)

All insulin pens require a needle that you need to change (simply screw a new one onto the pen).  As with traditional syringes, pen needles come in various lengths and thickness.  Be sure to ask your doctor which one is best for you.  


Advantages of Using an Insulin Pen

Insulin pens have a number of advantages:

  • More convenient than traditional vial and syringe because you can prepare pens at home and carry insulin in the pen
  • Repeatedly more accurate dosages
  • Easier to use for those with visual or fine motor skills impairments.  

Disadvantages of Using an Insulin Pen

  • Unlike the traditional syringes, pens are usually restricted to full or half unit dosing.
  • Insurance coverage for insulin pens in the United States varies widely and may not be covered under your plan  


How to Use an Insulin Pen (short version)
See "Step-By-Step Guide to Using an Insulin Pen" for detailed instructions.

Pens are simple to use, and even young children (properly trained, and with supervision) can use them with ease.  The basics of using an insulin pen include (assuming you are using a disposable pen, or, have already filled the cartridge in a reusable pen):

  • Screw on a new needle
  • If necessary, prime the pen to remove any air from the pen (air will not hurt you but you may not get an accurate amount of insulin)
  • Turn the knob on the end of the pen (or "dial") to the number of units
  • Insert the needle under the skin
  • Press the button on the end of the pen
  • Count to five
  • Remove the pen


Where to Buy Insulin Pens

Insulin pens may or may not be covered by your insurance plan so you should shop around for the best prices.  Costco Club stores have the cheapest prescription prices over any other walk-in pharmacy that we know of.  Their nationwide store policy is to limit mark-up on all products they sell to 15-15% (depending on the product) and this includes all prescription drugs and supplies.  Typically, other pharmacies mark-up the price of generic drugs up to 300% and name-brand drugs are usually marked up at least 80%.  


Types of Pens Available

AUTOPEN (Owen Mumford, Inc.)  (800) 421-6936

  • Autopen AN 3000: Reusable - delivers up to 32 units of insulin in 2-unit increments
  • Autopen AN 3100: Reusable - delivers up to 16 units of insulin in 1-unit increments
  • Autopen AN 3800: Reusable - delivers up to 42 units of insulin in 2-unit increments
  • Autopen AN 3810: Reusable - delivers up to 21 units of insulin in 1-unit increments

The AN 3000 and the AN 3100 insulin pens work with any Eli Lilly or Novo Nordisk 150-unit insulin cartridge. The AN 3800 and the AN 3810 insulin pens only work with 300-unit cartridges.

B-D PENS (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (800) 237-4554

  • B-D Pen: Reusable - delivers up to 30 units of insulin in 1-unit increments
  • B-D Pen Mini: Reusable - delivers up to 15 units in 1/2-unit increments

Both pens work with either Eli Lilly or Novo Nordisk 150-unit cartridges

ELI LILLY PENS (Eli Lilly and Company) (800) 545-5979

All Eli Lilly pens are prefilled that contain 300 units of insulin which must be delivered in 1-unit increments

  • Humalog Pen: Disposable - comes with lispro insulin
  • Humalog Mix 75/25 Pen: Disposable - comes with 25% lispro and 75% longer-acting insulin
  • Humulin 70/30 Pen: Dispoable - comes with 70/30 insulin
  • Humulin N Pen: Disposable - comes with NPH insulin

Eli Lilly also makes cartridges for reusable pens made by other companies. They sell cartridges containing 150 units of  Regular, NPH, 70/30, or lispro insulin

NOVO NORDISK PENS (Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals) (800) 727-6500

  • NovoPen 1.5: Can deliver up to 40 units in 1-unit increments
  • NovoPen 3: Can deliver from 2 units to 70 units in 1-unit increments
  • Novolin Prefilled Pen: Disposable - can deliver up to 58 units in 2-unit increments. This pen is available pre-filled with Regular, NPH, or 70/30 insulin
  • Novo Nordisk also makes cartridges for reusable pens that come with Regular, NPH, or 70/30 insulin in 150-unit and 300-unit sizes

   

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Page Updated 06/31/2008