Insulin pens

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An insulin pen consists of a device filled with insulin that allows you to dial the dose shown in a window (with audible clicks) and make the injection by pushing in a plunger. Pens come in two different styles:

i The pen contains the insulin already and is discarded when you use up the insulin.

1 You put a cartridge of 1.5 or 3 ml of insulin in the pen as needed and reuse the pen.

Also, some pens allow you to dial back down if you dial too much insulin. Check out an insulin pen in Figure 10-3.

Figure 10-3:

An insulin pen.

Figure 10-3:

An insulin pen.

Many patients find that dialing a dose in an insulin pen is much simpler than taking insulin from a syringe and needle. Of course, with the exception of the mixtures that are already on the market in pen form, you can't mix two types of insulin when you use pens. Pens are probably the best option for children with T1DM because they're so easy to use and so accurate.

A number of different companies make pens for their own insulin. Available pens include the following:

1 Autopen, which is available in four different models. Two contain a 1.5-ml cartridge, and two contain a 3-ml cartridge. Within each size, one pen delivers insulin in 1-unit increments, and the other pen delivers insulin in 2-unit increments.

1 Humalog Mix 75/25, Humalog Mix 50/50, Humalog Pen, Humulin Mix 70/30, and Humulin N, all of which are prefilled, disposable pens containing 3 ml of the particular kind of insulin you use.

1 HumaPen Luxura HD, used for Humalog insulin when half-unit doses are needed, particularly in children.

1 HumaPen Memoir, a new pen that remembers the 16 most recent doses, their times, and dates; and is used with 3-ml lispro cartridges.

1 Levemir FlexPen, a prefilled disposable pen containing 3 ml of Levemir insulin.

1 NovoLog FlexPen and NovoLog 70/30 FlexPen, which are prefilled disposable insulin syringes containing 3 ml of insulin.

1 NovoPen Junior, which takes NovoLog cartridges containing 3 ml of insulin and can be measured in half-unit doses.

1 NovoPen 3, which holds NovoLog 3-ml cartridges.

1 SoloStar, a disposable pen that contains 3 ml of Lantus insulin.

1 Opticlix, which uses 3 ml glargine or glulisine cartridges.

Insulin pens require needles, and you must match the pen with the proper needle in order for the pen to work properly. If the needles don't come with the pen, the instructions with the pen tell you which needle to use.

The technique for injecting insulin with a pen is the same as injecting with a syringe and needle. The age of your child when you turn injections over to him depends on your assessment of his capability.

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