Insulin pens for diabetes are simply an insulin delivery system that allows the injection of insulin into the bloodstream of a diabetic. It comprises of an insulin cartridge, a pen needle, and a dial to measure the insulin dose. Its appearance is similar to that of a pen, only it is larger. Some of these parts are either disposable or non-replaceable. The insulin cartridge for one may need a replacement from time to time and the insulin needles are entirely disposable.
Insulin pens for diabetes are used extensively in most countries, excluding the United States where vials, injections and syringes are the preferred tools for insulin injection. They come in various sizes ranging from 1.5 ml to 3.0 ml.
Types of Insulin Pens :
There are several manufacturers of insulin pens which make it possible for users to have a variety of options. There are the pre-filled pens that are usually recommended for type 2 diabetics. These pens have pre-mixed insulin dosage, making it easier for users to determine how much insulin is to be used. These pens are disposable and require replacements once the insulin cartridge becomes empty. The drawback of this type is that it does not accommodate any adjustments to exercise and diet.
The other type of pen is the durable pen. It makes use of replaceable insulin cartridges which are discarded only after their contents are fully used up. Once a new cartridge is in place, the pen is ready for use again.
A new addition to the existing insulin pens, pens that have built-in memory allow users to store the time, date, and the amount of dosage. This makes it easier for users to tract their usage of insulin.
Advantages of insulin pens for diabetes :
There are three advantages to using insulin pens – ease of use, accuracy, and portability.
Site for injection – The first step to using an insulin pen is to select the site where you want to inject your insulin dosage. There are a few in the body that make for good injection sites, including the abdominal area, thighs, buttocks, the area of the back just above the waist, legs, and upper arm. When choosing a site for injection, always stay an inch away from the previous site and two inches away from the navel or any scars. Also, be careful not to use sites that are swollen, bruised or tender.
To use your insulin pen, first clean the site for injection with an alcohol pad or a cotton ball dabbed with alcohol. Then, take off the cover of the pen and check how much insulin is left. If the insulin looks a bit cloudy, you can mix it gently by rolling the pen in your hands. Clean the end of the insulin pen afterwards.
The next step is to insert the disposable needle in its place. Once this is properly set in place, you can clear out any air pockets inside the pen by holding the pen up in the air while pushing the end of the pen until a drop of insulin is ejected. You may need to repeat this process for a couple of times until you see a drop of insulin at the tip of the needle.
Set the amount of insulin you want to use. Pinch and hold the site where you would want to inject the insulin. Insert the needle all the way down into your skin and continue pinching the skin for a few seconds more. Pull the pen out and gently massage the area of injection. Put the insulin pen cover back in its place.