Diabetes Basics

Insulin Pens

An insulin pen consists of disposable needles, a vial of insulin, and a "pen". Insulin pens are often of the size and shape of a large marker. Thye have a self-contained cartridge. These pens are used with pen needles that are sold separately. A new pen needle should be used each time you inject.

Insulin pens are of two types- reusable pens and disposable pens. You must load a reusable pen with a cartridge of insulin. Cartridges used today hold 150 or 300 units of insulin. A cartridge may give you enough insulin to last for several days of injections depending on the size of your doses. On the other hand, disposable pens are filled with insulin and are thrown away when they get empty. Disposable pens are generally more convenient than reusable pens because you do not need to load any cartridges, but they usually cost more to use than reusable pens and cartridges.

The benefits of Insulin pens are as follows:

1) They are small, discreet, and convenient for injections away from home.
2) They save time because there's no need to draw up insulin from a bottle. It's already pre-filled in the self-contained cartridge.
3) They usually let you set an accurate dose by the simple turn of a dosage dial, and that may make it easier to set an accurate dose for people who have vision or dexterity problems.

There are some disadvantages of these pens as well, including:

1) Insulin in pens and cartridges is often more expensive than insulin in bottles, meant for use in syringes.
2) Some insulin is wasted when pens are used: one to two units of insulin are lost when the pen is primed before each injection; and there's usually some insulin left in the pen or cartridge (but not enough to inject) when they're used up.
3) These pens don't let you mix insulin types, which means that if the insulin mixture you need isn't available as a pre-mix, two injections must be given- one for each type of insulin.

The American Diabetes Association approves of different types of pens. To get more information about diabetes, diabetes diets, diabetes cure, and diabetes care, visit their website.