Types of Insulin for Your Insulin Pens

Insulin For Delivery by Insulin Pens

With the availability of more types of insulin for pens in the United States, insulin pens are expected to become the dominant form of administering this life saving drug, as they already are in the developed nations of Europe and Asia.

About Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in your pancreas. It makes it possible for your body to use sugar or glucose by moving it from your blood to your cells. Unfortunately some people are unable to produce insulin. This is Type 1 diabetes. Other people either produce too little insulin or their cells ignore the insulin they produce. This is the more common Type 2 diabetes.

Without proper treatment, the sugar level of diabetics rises way above what is normal. Abnormally high blood sugar can make their blood vessels thicker and less elastic, damage their kidneys and eyes, increase the possibility of heart attacks and damage their nerves and senses.

Type I, Type II and Gestational Diabetes

People who get Type 1 diabetes have to take a specific dose of insulin for the rest of their lives. People with Type 2 diabetes may also need insulin or need it only during specific periods of time. Women who develop gestational diabetes when they are pregnant may also need insulin if they cannot keep their blood sugar at normal or near normal levels through healthy food choices, regular exercise and limiting calorie intake.

Types of Insulin

Insulin is a protein. If cannot be taken through the mouth or swallowed because it would only be digested by the body.  It is administered by being injected by the patient or caretaker in the fatty layer of tissue found just beneath the skin (subcutaneous).  It can also be given through a vein or injected into muscle but these methods are done by trained personnel.

Various types of insulin differ in composition, strength, onset, peak, and duration of action. Insulin may be composed of purified pork insulin or human insulin. Strength refers to the number of units in one cc of insulin, for instance 100 units in one cc. Onset refers to the amount of time it takes for the insulin to take effect after it is injected.  Peak refers to the length of time that the insulin works best while duration of action refers to how long the insulin works.

Types of Insulin Brands

Three brands  of insulin can be accessed in the United States:  Lilly (Humulin and Humalog), NovoNordisk (Novolin and Novolog) and Sanofi (Lantus and Apidra).

Sanofi is the manufacturer of Lantus, a basal insulin, and Apidra, a prandial insulin. Lantus is a long-acting insulin and is the only 24 hour insulin approved for use once a day. Apidra is a rapid-acting insulin for adults with type 2 diabetes or adults and children (4 years and older) with type 1 diabetes.

Your physician usually prescribes what type of insulin or mixtures of insulin is your best choice. Premixed insulin contains two kinds of insulin—one to control blood sugar the entire day and the other to control it during meals. Premixed insulin is now available for insulin pens.

Insulin Cartridges and Disposable Insulin Pens

Insulin cartridges are used in reusable insulin pens.  In the USA each cartridge usually contains 150-300 units of insulin. When it is used up you buy new cartridges. Disposable pens contain 300 units of insulin. Once begun the insulin lasts for 10-28 days. The entire pen is disposed of once the insulin has been used up.

Disposable pens and insulin cartridges are stored in the refrigerator, but never in the freezer, before they are used. Once used, they should be stored at room temperature. They should never be used beyond the expiration date that is marked on the cartridges or disposable insulin pens.

Insulin Pen Buyers Guide

How To Choose Your Insulin Pen

General Guidelines

choose your insulin penYou can lead a happy, long and productive life despite having diabetes. The key is keeping your blood sugar level as normal or near normal as possible.  You can do this by eating healthy, keeping yourself active, exercising regularly and using proper medication, including insulin. A growing number of Americans have chosen insulin pens over the traditional syringes-insulin vials. Obviously, choosing your insulin pen should not be a hit and miss affair!

 

Think COST-EFFECTIVE (in the important long run)

  • Although insulin pens are initially more expensive than syringes and insulin vials, insulin pens can be more cost-effective in the long run. This is especially true if you are like many people who may resist injections with a syringe. Most find it too painful or hard to do properly, or just too scarey. This may cause your blood-glucose levels to spike and affect your health negatively. Should you prefer to shift to pens, use them consistently to have better control your blood-glucose levels.
  • Reusable pens are cheaper than disposable pens, but they are slightly more complex to use. You only have to change the needles and insulin (which may be covered by health plans and Medicare prescription drug coverage). The pen can last for several years.
  • Disposable pens pre-filled with insulin will cost more but offer you ease of use. Unlike reusable pens, you don’t have to load it with new insulin cartridges, which may be quite difficult for people who have serious problems with dexterity, hearing and vision. Therefore, this may make disposable pens a better value if you have these issues.

Think COMPATIBILITY

  • Is the pen you’ve chosen “compatible” with the brand and types of insulin or mixture of insulins prescribed by your doctor?  For instance, some pens will only take Eli Lilly insulin cartridges while others may take only Novo Nordisk insulin cartridges.
  • Insulin cartridges are available in 1.5mL or 3.0mL and you have to make sure that they will fit your pen.  A 1.5mL or 150 U insulin cartridge will not fit in a 3.0mL or 300 U pen.

Think USER-FRIENDLY

  • The numbers on the dosage dial should be easy to read and, therefore, a big yes for older diabetics
  • The insulin pen itself should be small enough to be carried with ease and used without attracting unwanted attention. In the case of most children, the pens are designed NOT to look like a medical device.
  • The pen should indicate by an audible click or a clear sign that the needle has been attached and that the full amount of insulin has been injected.
  • The device should be able to finely and accurately adjust the insulin dosage in 2, 1 and ½ increments.
  • The pen should indicate how much insulin is left in the cartridge or pen.
  • The shorter and finer needles used in some pens make shots almost painless.

Think SMART

Insulin pens are getting smarter by the day. New digital insulin pens were recently unveiled in September 2011 at a meeting of the the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.  Among other innovations, the pens record your last 100 injections including how many units of insulin were injected and the date and time of the injections. You can even transfer this data from the insulin pen via a USB cable to a computer.

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Insulin Pens and Injection Sites

 

canine diabetes

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Like their human owners, dogs are not spared from diabetes, which is canine diabetes in this case. Insulin pens offer the advantages of ease, accuracy and comfort for both humans and pets. What’s more, insulin pens are safer to use than insulin bottles and syringes, especially when your diabetic dog finds injections stressful or painful and tries to struggle or escape.

These are good injection sites for dogs using insulin pens—its flank, armpit, side of the belly and side of the chest. Some include the scruff but others believe that this site is not conducive to insulin absorption. As with people, try to vary the exact injection site within the general area, such as the flank, to avoid the formation of lumps or nodules and scars. These also interfere with absorption of insulin.

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Vetsulin was the only FDA-approved insulin for dogs and cats. However the FDA stopped its production in March 2011 due to issues of  purity and stability.  Veterinarians were advised to switch to other products since production may or may not be resumed.  The remaining supplies are still being marketed and used, but owners are advised to take special precautions in such cases.

In the USA, Neutral Protamine Hagedorn (also known as N and NPH) is an intermediate acting insulin now used primarily for canine diabetes. It is usually given twice daily at meal time. NPH can control glucose level for a period ranging from 8-14 hours and is generally effective and affordable. Many vets have also been trying the long-acting insulin Detemir or Levemir. It is particularly suitable for dogs that need insulin more potent than NPH; one unit of Levemir is equal to 4 units of NPH. It is usually best to inject a diabetic dog with insulin twice a day after meals for better glucose control.

Regular insulin injections using insulin pens are not the only lifestyle change for diabetic pets. Many diabetic dogs gain weight and have to slim down. Aside from insulin therapy, feeding them with high fiber, low carbohydrate and quality protein food  and regular exercise help to control their weight and glucose level.

 

Preparations for Insulin Injection

  • Prepare the insulin pens and other supplies you’ll need to administer insulin, including some treats that you’ll “bribe” your dog with. Be sure that the insulin is at room temperature so your pet will experience less discomfort.
  • Keep your pet in a relaxed and calm state. If necessary, employ the assistance of a family member that the dog is familiar with.
  • Be sure that your dog has been properly fed before administering its insulin.

Step-by-Step Injection Using Insulin Pens

  • Uncap the insulin pen. Ensure that the insulin looks all right. Some types have a cloudy appearance, while others are crystalline clear. Carefully attach a pen needle. Mix the insulin well by lightly rolling the pen between your palms, or moving it from side to side about 20 times.
  • Be sure the pen cartridge is properly primed. Hold the pen with the needle pointing straight up, and lightly tap the pen to make the air bubbles inside rise to the top. Then make an “air shot” (releasing a drop or two of insulin into the air) which eliminates air bubbles and ensures your diabetic dog gets a full dose of insulin.
  • Dial the required dose of insulin.
  • Pinch up a fold of skin near the actual injection spot. Stick the needle into the fatty layer underneath the skin at the correct angle. Angle the needle that its bevel faces up to make the injection less painful. Make sure the needle doesn’t hit the muscle underneath. Inject it  just deep enough to penetrate the layer of fat.
  • Release the skin fold. Press the insulin pen’s injection button and wait a few seconds until the full dose is administered.
  • When you take out the needle, be careful it doesn’t twist or bend since it may cause some discomfort on your pet. Just pull it straight up. Press your finger gently on the injection site and rub lightly for a few seconds to inhibit bleeding. Praise and reward your dog with a treat afterwards.
  • Detach the needle from insulin pens after each use and dispose of them per your vet’s advice.

Always remember that your veterinarian is still your best source of advice regarding the choice and usage of insulin pens for your diabetic dog.

USA Accelerates Shift To Insulin Pens From Syringes and Bottled Insulin

shift to insulin pensInsulin pens are used by about 95% of the people who inject insulin to manage their diabetes throughout Europe and Asia. This was in stark contrast to the United States, where a only small percentage of people use insulin pens.

In the last few years, however, insulin pens have rapidly grown in popularity in the USA, with 25% using pen devices for insulin delivery. It is expected that use of pens here will grow to match the rate in other developed nations.

The acceptance and preference of pen devices has incredibly accelerated. Whether you’re a diabetic who injects insulin, or a care giver, you will truly appreciate the pen device’s many benefits. They are much more discrete, comfortable, accurate and safe compared to traditional syringes and bottled insulin.

Insulin pens are easy and comfortable to use

  • A pen device is less for you to carry than syringes and bottled insulin.
  • It’s easier to use, especially if you have reduced vision or difficulty manipulating devices.
  • It’s more accurate for you to get the correct dose, particularly when you repeat doses.
  • It is more comfortable to inject. The pen needle does not get dulled when your syringe pierces the rubber septum on an insulin bottle.

Pen devices are discrete

  • You’ll find it is much more discrete to carry and use an insulin pen than syringes and vials of insulin.
  • Insulin pens make insulin therapy more socially acceptable, and avoid the stigma of syringes.
  • You’ll feel less conspicuous carrying a pen and more comfortable using it in public compared with using a syringe.

Premixed Insulin is now readily available

  • Several drug companies that manufacture insulin for pens now offer you a wide variety of premixed insulin. They are available in either cartridges or disposable pens.

Most insurance that covers syringes and vials now cover Insulin Pens

  • There was a time when some insurance companies only paid for syringes and vials. Today, most insurance companies pay for pen devices.
  • You need to check with your own insurance carrier to be certain they cover insulin pens.

 

Smart Insulin Pen Caps for More Effective Diabetes Management

Smart Insulin Pen Caps for More Effective Diabetes Management

While using an insulin pen is one of the safest and most accurate way to administer insulin, faulty human memory can be a stumbling block for better diabetes management.

A post in the Medical News Bulletin website stated:

Gocap: A Smart Insulin Pen Cap for Better Diabetes Management

Written By: Fiona Wong, PhD

“Diabetes can be managed well if patients are vigilant about monitoring and recording their blood sugar levels, and taking insulin when they need it. Unfortunately, many diabetics do not have access to the resources that can help them effectively manage their disease. As a result, they become non-adherent and are at much higher risk for health complications.”

Gocap: A Smart Insulin Pen Cap for Better Diabetes Management

Interviews have revealed that over a third of diabetics miss their doses at least 3 times a month. Most doctors think that the numbers could be higher. Thanks to smart insulin pen caps like Gocap and InsulCheck, however, the problem of missed doses is now a thing of the past.

Dosing with Confidence

Smart insulin pen caps are the big thing nowadays. As a result, pen users now don’t have to worry about tracking their dosing. The Healthline website post written by Mike Hoskins reveals this good news:

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of companies developing gadgets to make insulin pens smarter so they can track dosing, share that data and more. Those include Timesulin, the NovoPen Echo smart pen, The Bee, the Gocap from Common Sensing, and Companion Medical’s fully featured InPen under development, backed by Eli Lilly. And most recently, BD announced its own plans for next-gen tech that includes a Bluetooth-enabled smart pen cap. Very cool stuff.

Now, say hello to another similar tool in the works: Insulog, which was publicly announced this week, on Dec. 7, and is gunning for a 2017 launch.”

If you usually miss your insulin doses, isn’t it about time to consider a smart insulin pen cap to help you monitor your dosages? To get more information about insulin pen add-ons, read the related articles on http://insulinpens.com.

What is Timesulin and How Does It Work with Insulin Pens?

What is Timesulin and How Does It Work with Insulin Pens?

Do you know that a tiny cap designed for most insulin pens can help remind you of your next insulin dose so you don’t have to skip it?

We tend to forget a lot of things everyday. Forgetting things like where you placed your keys, feeding the goldfish, leaving important papers at the office, or even taking your vitamins can be annoying but never life-threatening.

However, it is those repetitive everyday tasks that should be done religiously on time that end up being forgotten, tasks that are so routine and done on autopilot that they take a backseat inside the mind.

What if you forget to keep track of a daily activity that is critical to your health?

For a diabetic, missing an insulin dose can adversely alter their quality of life and expose them to more health risks which include poor coordination, headaches, skin infections, stomach problems, unconsciousness, and even coma. Injecting a double dose of insulin after missing an earlier one can produce the same harmful effect.

For these reasons, John Sjölund, a Type 1 diabetic himself since the age of three, teamed up with Marcel Botha and created Timesulin.

What is Timesulin and How Does It Work with Insulin Pens?

 

 

Timesulin is a small cap that fits most brands of insulin pens. It displays the time that has passed since you last administered a dose of insulin. Just replace the original cap of your insulin pen with Timesulin and you don’t have to miss an injection anymore.

Timesulin works with the following brands and models of insulin pens:

Timesulin for Flexpen®

  • Levemir
  • NovoRapid
  • Victoza
  • Protaphane HM (ge)
  • Novolog
  • Novolog Mix 70/30

Timesulin for Solostar®

  • Lantus
  • Apidra

Timesulin for Kwikpen®

  • Humalog
  • Humalog 75/25
  • Humalog 50/50

More than a third of all diabetics skip their doses. Timesulin is a device to help parents, the elderly, and young kids manage diabetes with less worry.

Click here to get more information about insulin pens.