Do Your Insulin-Using Patients Know About Insulin Pens?

From the Spring Research Guide

| Apr 1, 2006

If you are an endocrinologist or primary care physician who works with diabetics, you have undoubtedly heard of the insulin pen. You probably know of their popularity in Europe or have heard testimonials from pen users about their ease of use.

But have you ever discussed using an insulin pen with your diabetic patients who use insulin?

Jane Seley, GNP, MPH, MSN, CDE, thinks that the main reason insulin pens are not popular in the United States is that many healthcare professionals are not familiar with them and their method of use. However, companies such as Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Owen Mumford and sanofi-aventis have pens aplenty if you and your patients decide that a pen is the right choice for insulin delivery.

Pens From Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and Co. has four pen brands: the Humalog Pen, the Humalog Mix 75/25 Pen, the Humulin 70/30 Pen and the Humulin N Pen. Lilly says that each pack of five pens contains the same amount of insulin (15 ml or 1,500 units) as one and a half vials of insulin.

“Pens are prefilled with 300 units of Lilly insulin,” they say, advising that one pen be used at a time while the rest remain in the refrigerator.

“When the pen is empty, just throw the entire pen away, as recommended by your healthcare professional.”

Pens From Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk has a vast line of insulin pen brands for adults and children who inject insulin, such as its line of disposable Novolin InnoLet pens (Novolin R InnoLet; Novolin N InnoLet and Novolin 70/30 InnoLet), along with the NovoLog Mix 70/30 FlexPen and NovoLog FlexPen. Novo also carries a line of reusable insulin pens that use cartridges, one of which—the NovoPen Junior—is designed specifically for kids.

Pens From Owen Mumford and sanofi-aventis

Rounding out the caboodle of insulin pen options are the Autopen by Owen Mumford, Inc., and the OptiClik Pen by sanofi-aventis.

If your patients would like to try an insulin pen, talk to them about their pen options based on which types of insulin they are taking. Seley suggests that if you need training on how to use a pen, talk with a certified diabetes educator, or go to to locate a CDE near you.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Novo Nordisk, Pens, Professional Issues

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