Diabetes is a fast spreading disease which is caused either due to the lack of proper production of insulin by the pancreas or due to the improper use of insulin in the human body. This gives rise to the blood sugar level or the glucose level in the body since the hormone insulin is responsible for the essential breakdown of carbohydrates and fats which, in turn, help in maintaining the required level of sugar and glucose in the blood.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas of the body which is responsible for producing insulin are unable to do so. Hence, in type 1, administering of the hormone through external sources is more common when compared to in type 2 which is caused due to the body’s inability to efficiently utilize the Insulin so produced. There are various ways in which Insulin can be injected- by using Insulin pens, syringes, artificial pumps etc.
In this article, we shall learn about Insulin pens, the advantages, and disadvantages of using them. Join in for the article “Insulin Pens for Diabetes:Their advantages and Disadvantages.”
Table of Contents
What is Insulin Pen?
As we know, diabetes is caused when the body does not have enough Insulin or the Insulin produced by the body is not working efficiently. Hence, there are external sources through which the hormone should be injected into the body. One of the methods of doing the same is by using an Insulin pen.
Insulin pens are generally of the size of a marker. They resemble a marker as well and contain Insulin in them. Some of these Insulin pens use the cartridge which is replaceable while others might be irreplaceable. Like the Insulin syringes, the insulin pens should also be disposed of after it has been used depending on the type of pen used.
Who can Use the Insulin Pen?
Normally, the Insulin pen can be used by any diabetic patient who has been recommended to take Insulin by a medical expert. However, depending on the type and brand, not all types of Insulin can be used through the source of Insulin pen. Hence, one needs to be careful while choosing an Insulin pen.
Type 1 diabetes is caused due to the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Hence, type 1 patients are mostly prescribed the intake of the hormone. Having said that, doctors may also prescribe type 2 diabetes patients to take Insulin through external sources as well.
How do Insulin Pens Work?
Let us now understand the working of the Insulin pens. Each of these pens has an Insulin cartridge attached which have an expiry of somewhere around 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the type. There are Insulin pen needles which need to be disposed of after every use. If you are someone who is using more than one type of insulin from the same pen, it is imperative that you move the pen backward and forwards ensuring that both the types are mixed appropriately. Also, remember to rotate the injection site each time you are using the Insulin pen.
Types of Insulin Pens
Let us now understand what are the different types of insulin pens that are available for use. Following are the main types:
- Disposable Insulin pens: As the name suggests, the Insulin pens are the ones which need to be disposed of immediately after the hormone has been injected into the diabetic patient. These pens are prefilled with the hormone. Since there is no necessity to replace the cartridge of Insulin in the Insulin pens, they are more convenient and easy to use as compared to the ones which can be reused.
- Reusable Insulin pens: These are the ones which can be reused after the cartridge has been inserted in the body of the diabetic patient. Unlike the above Insulin pen type, a patient has to load the insulin in the cartridge himself or herself and has to repeat the process every time the cartridge is over. This type of pen can last a few more years when compared to the disposable Insulin pen.
Advantages of Insulin Pens
Let us now delve into the advantages the Insulin pens offer to the users:
- The most important advantage of the Insulin pens is that you can carry them with you at all times as they are portable.
- The shape and size of the Insulin penis such that you can conveniently use these even when you are traveling or are away from home.
- Besides, it is possible for the diabetic person to administer the hormone straight from the pen itself. You need not take the insulin first into a bottle and then in the syringe.
- As we know, it is very important for a diabetic patient to take the right amount of Insulin dosage. The Insulin pens allow doing it as the person administering the same can accurately dial the dosage of Insulin. With this, even if a diabetic has poor vision, he or she can conveniently take the right amount of dosage.
- Another important advantage of Insulin pens is that since they are easy to use and convenient, even school going kids who have diabetes can use the same and they do not have to miss their daily dosage when they are away.
- Finally, the Insulin pens are considered to be painless and hence are preferred over the Insulin syringes and other methods of administering Insulin in a diabetic patient.
Disadvantages of Insulin Pens
The Insulin pens may not be preferred by all the diabetic patients due to the disadvantages these have. Let us look into the disadvantages of the Insulin pens as below:
- The Insulin pens are more expensive as compared to Insulin usage in the bottles as well as the syringes.
- A diabetic patient cannot use all types of insulin in the pen. Only a few variety of the Insulin pen can be used for this purpose.
- Similar to the above problem is the fact that in Insulin pens only a few types of Insulins can be mixed together. If you have been recommended a particular Insulin mix and the same is not available as a pre-mix for use in these pens, you might have to end up taking two different injections from these pens, adding to both your expenses as well as inconvenience.
- Sometimes, the use of Insulin pens can cause a lot of wastage of Insulin. This happens particularly when you are using the pen and the amount present therein is much more than the dosage you require.
- Another disadvantage of Insulin pens is that you need to use the Insulin pen only on yourself and no one else. The reason for the same is that every time you finish taking the dosage, you require to replace the needle from the pen. Now if you are not using the injection on yourself, there are high chances that the needle will prick you as the other person is trying to administer the Insulin into your body.
Tips That Will Help You Choose the Right type of Insulin Pen
There are several brands and models of Insulin pens that are today available in the market. If we need to manage diabetes properly and effectively, the right amount of Insulin dosage from the right source is of prime importance. As such, it is imperative that we choose the Insulin pen with great care.
Keep the following factors in mind while trying to choose the Insulin pen for yourself or for someone you know:
- What is the type of Insulin you have been recommended and what are the types that are available for use on the Insulin pen you intend to buy.
- Also, consider the total units of Insulin that the pen is able to hold.
- What is the procedure of operating the pen: how difficult or easy it is.
- The dosage size of Insulin that can be administered with the Insulin pen.
- The convenience with which you can find out how much Insulin is still left for use in the pen.
- How finely is it possible to adjust the Insulin dosage in the pen.
- You also need to consider the quality of the material with which the pen has been made.
- What is the level of convenience with which the pen can be used? For example, if it is too difficult to operate, it may not be useful for old or visually impaired diabetes patients.
- There are numbers written in the pen. Hence, you need to consider what is the size in which these numbers are written. Are they magnified or not and are these numbers comfortable enough for someone who is visually challenged?
- while choosing an Insulin pen make sure to see how difficult or convenience it is to correct a mistake that you might have made.
We hope that the article has been helpful in educating you about Insulin pens and what are the associated advantages and disadvantages of using the same. Do keep the factors and tips in mind while taking a decision of going for a particular type of Insulin pen while trying to manage your diabetes. Also, remember to consult a medical practitioner when you chose the Insulin pen for administering Insulin inside the body!!