More and More Diabetes Patients Getting Turned On to Insulin Pens

Although they are equally effective when it comesto delivering insulin, more insulin-using patientsexpressed a preference to continue using an insulinpen after trying one.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center inPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, say that accuracy and convenience ofpen devices for insulin injection have improved quality of life forpatients with insulin-treated diabetes.

“Prefilled disposable pens have the advantage of simplicity, withminimal training and attention required, and no installation ofnew cartridges necessary,” they write.

A total of 121 patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes were studiedto assess patient preference, efficacy and safety profiles with useof a prefilled disposable pen and of a conventional vial-syringeinjection method for insulin injection therapy. Patients weretransferred from conventional insulin therapy to a mixture ofNovoLog Mix 70/30 for four weeks, using their usual type ofsyringe. For the next four weeks, they were then randomlyassigned to use either the vial and syringe or a NovoLog FlexPenthat was prefilled with NovoLog Mix 70/30. After that four-weekperiod, patients were switched to vial syringe injection.

Of the 103 people who completed the study, 74 percentindicated a preference for the pen over the vial-syringe method,compared with 20 percent who preferred the vial-syringe.

In addition,

  • 85 percent considered the pen more discreet for use in public,compared with 9 percent for the vial-syringe.
  • 74 percent considered the pen easier to use overall, comparedwith 21 percent for the vial-syringe.
  • 85 percent found the insulin dose scale on the pen easier toread, compared with 10 percent for the vial-syringe.

“No statistically significant differences in fasting plasma glucose,mean four-point blood glucose profiles or serum fructosaminevalues were found between groups,” write the researchers.“Overall, the safety profiles during treatment periods with thepen were comparable to those with the vial-syringe.”

Clinical Therapeutics, November 2003

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