Insulin Pens for More Flexible Diabetes Treatment

Insulin pens are an easy way for many diabetics to get their insulin dosages.

Basically, there are two kinds of insulin pens available. You have the reusable and the disposable types available. Your pens that are reusable require what is called a prefilled cartridge. These usually contain 300 units of insulin. After you have emptied the cartridge, or used the device for 32 days, you need to throw the cartridge away and replace it.

Disposable pens do not require loading. You only need to throw out the pen in a sharps protective container when emptied.

Pens basically are varied in the types of needles they use as well as the insulin. Some pens have large type for the visually impaired. Along with that, they have pens that have clicks that can be heard so you can tell how much insulin you are getting.

Typically, when beginning to use a fresh pen, you remove the cap, and then screw on the needle to the top of the cartridge. Prime your needle before the first injection you give. Next, you easily dial up your insulin dosage which clearly shows in the window making it very simple. If your insulin dose exceeds what is allowed in the dialing dose button, you will need to dial again for the difference in dosage.

Once you have dialed in the insulin dose, just insert the needle quickly into the skin, (I find the stomach easiest), and press the knob at the end. You'll usually hear little clicks as the dosage goes through to you. You need to count up to 10 seconds before releasing the knob. This ensures you are getting the proper amounts of insulin needed.

To store your unopened pens, you need to place them in the fridge. Once opened, you can leave it on your dresser or anywhere that it is in room temperature.

Types of insulin pens are the following:

Lantus Solostar pen is disposable after using.

Lantus and Apidra are Opticlik pens that you may reuse.

Novolin N, Novolin 70/30 and Lantus are Innolet disposable pens with large dials that are disposable.

Levemir is in a FlexPen which is disposable after use.

Novolog and Novolog Mix 70/30 is in a NovoPen Junior which can deliver half units of insulin. Variety of colors available as well.

Novolin 70/30, Novolin N, and Novolin R are in a NovoPen3. They are reusable and deliver from 2-70 units

Humalog comes in a HumaPen Luxura. This pen is reusable and is able to dial half units.

Humalog also comes in a pen form called HumaPen Memoir. This pen is reusable with a 16-item memory of insulin doses.

Humalog, Humalog Mix 75/25, Humulin 70/30, and Humulin N all come in Lilly Prefilled Pens which are disposable after use.

Before asking your health care team or doctor about use of an insulin pen, check with your insurance company for the coverage on them. Many of them will cover the bulk of the expense, leaving you with just a copayment. Otherwise the cost typically runs around $100 for a reusable pen, and for a package of 5 pens, the cost comes to around $180. Depending on how much insulin you are taking, this may or may not be expensive for you should your insurance not cover it, or you are not insured.

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