My first trial with Lilly’s HumaPen. Pen: 3, Syringe: 3

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For a couple of years now [yes, takes me a long time to weigh things ;-)] I have silently urged Apidra to come up with an insulin pen that allows me to dose half a unit. 

Each time I saw a rep at a health fair, I’d ask whether this was in the works. Most looked at me with amazement, “You want to be able to take a half unit?” they decried?

Yes I do. Eating a low carb diet and power-walking an hour a day, I often only need a half unit to dose for a meal of, for instance, veggies and chicken or fish (Please DO NOT take my dosing for yours, we each have individual needs). 

As you can sort of see in the post below, I use the Lantus Solostar pen for my long-acting insulin and wondered about having the same ease for my meal time insulin. Tis true, after 40 years with type 1 diabetes, I may be ready to give up my vial and syringe. Like most people I find an insulin pen easier to use than the few extra steps vial and syringe requires, and prefer the non-medical-ness of it all. Maybe even more, since I use so little rapid-acting insulin, when I have to throw the bottle out after a month, I’m throwing away four-fifths of it. That waste makes me crazy each month.

But Apidra told me if they come out with a pen that would dose half a unit it wouldn’t be before 2014. So I found HumaPen LUXURA HD. HumaPen is the only pen that offers half a unit rapid-acting insulin. I checked with some diabetes educator friends who said Apidra, Humalog and Novolog (rapid-acting insulins) are all pretty similar, so I printed off my free coupon for the Humapen, called my doctor’s office to get a prescription for the pen cartridges and waited til my Apidra was up for the month.

Now I’ve spent a day dosing with HumaPen. Here’s the good news:

• It’s a solidly-made insulin device. 

• It’s rather gorgeous, especially for a medical device, in its Italian deep forest green color. 

• It doesn’t look like a syringe when it’s hanging off my body

Yet, having recently discovered I need to take the insulin cap off each time I dose, and put it (or a new one after a while) back on before the next shot, it feels as multi-step a procedure as sticking a syringe in a vial. 

And while the weight assures me of its state-of-the-art craftsmanship, it’s weightier in my purse than a vial and syringe.

And, while that gorgeous green tube sticking out of my stomach for the 5 seconds I have to keep it there with my finger on the dose button to make sure I get my full dose, may perhaps be less discrete, considering a syringe is comparatively tiny and I jab it into my body, and out, in a second, it hardly seems so. 

So, far as I’m concerned right now the playing field is level: Pen: 3, Syringe: 3. I’ll give the HumaPen a run, but don’t know whether I’ll switch for good. 

Tip: For those of you on pens who wonder, as I did, whether the extra insulin you use to prime the pen takes away from the amount left in the pen for your dose, the answer is no. I spoke to a Lilly rep this morning who told me they overfill pens and insulin cartridges to cover those extra units used for priming. 

 

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