What are Insulin Pens?
Insulin pens are devices that can provide an easy way to carry and give insulin when away from home. Also, for people who are not comfortable working with syringes and bottles to draw up and measure individual doses, the pens provide a convenient and accurate alternative.
The goal is to inject the insulin into the subcutaneous tissue between the top layer of the skin, the dermis and the underlying muscle layer.
- those that are completely disposable after providing a single dose of insulin,
- those that use disposable cartridges to provide multiple doses.
If you use more than one type of insulin, you must use a separate pen for each type. The basic method of use is similar for both pens and there are four main steps to be learned.
An insulin pen has three components:
- a base which contains the mechanism for measuring the correct dose,
- a holder for the cartridge of insulin,
- a cap, which is removed and replaced by the needle prior to the injection.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the cap, separate the base from the cartridge holder by unscrewing it.
Rewind the base dose regulating mechanism back to zero and put down the base.
Pick up the cartridge holder. Shake out the used cartridge.
Check that the new cartridge contains the correct insulin and insert it, metal end first, into the holder.
Screw the cartridge holder back onto the base.
- Keep a record of all your injections and also record when you begin a new cartridge.
- Subtract the total insulin used in previous injections from the total of 150 units in each cartridge to be sure you have enough insulin left for the next dose.
Clean the end of the cartridge holder and the projecting cartridge with an alcohol swab.
Remove the seal from the end of the new needle unit. Don’t touch the exposed needle or allow it to touch any other object.
Screw the needle unit onto the end of the cartridge holder.
Pull the outer shield off the needle. Do not throw it away. You will need it later to remove the needle unit from the pen.
Pull the inner shield off the needle and discard it. Hold the pen upright and tap the cartridge holder to enable air bubbles to escape through the needle.
Dial the dose knob so that #1 is in the dose scale window and prime the pen according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Hold the needle upright. Press in the injection button at the end of the unit and check that insulin comes out of the tip of the needle. If no insulin is seen, continue to dial up one unit at a time and press the injection button until insulin is seen. A new cartridge may take 4-6 units before insulin flows.
Dial in your dose of insulin in addition to the units needed to produce the insulin flow. For example, if it took 4 units to start the insulin flow and your insulin dose is 20, the total in the dose scale window will be 24.
*Choose and clean the injection site as usual.
Pinch the skin and insert the needle through the skin at a 90Ã‹Å¡ angle. Press the injection button at the end of the needle and wait 5 seconds for the injection to be completed before removing the needle from the skin.
*The needle must be removed from the pen immediately after the injection is finished.
Place the outer needle shield that you had saved on the counter top with the opening facing up.
Without holding onto the shield, insert the pen needle carefully into the shield and push down firmly. Grip the shield and unscrew the needle from the pen.
Dispose of the shielded needle into the puncture proof container that you have reserved for your needles. Store all pens that are in use at room temperature.