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Do Your Insulin-Using Patients Know About Insulin Pens?

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, EliLilly, Owen Mumford and sanofi-aventis have pens aplenty if you and your patientsdecide 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 fivepens contains the same amount of insulin (15 ml or 1,500 units) as one and a halfvials of insulin.

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

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

Pens From Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk has a vast line of insulin pen brands for adults and children whoinject insulin, such as its line of disposable Novolin InnoLet pens (Novolin RInnoLet; Novolin N InnoLet and Novolin 70/30 InnoLet), along with the NovoLogMix 70/30 FlexPen and NovoLog FlexPen. Novo also carries a line of reusableinsulin pens that use cartridges, one of which—the NovoPen Junior—is designedspecifically for kids.

Pens From Owen Mumford and sanofi-aventis

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

If your patients would like to try an insulin pen, talk to them about their penoptions 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 AADE to locate a CDE near you.

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