Diabetes

I must say that I am impressed with the overall status of diabetes treatments.

Consider that insulin became widely available in 1923 (Dr. Banting, University of Toronto with Eli Lilly and Company making insulin widely available at that time based on the University of Toronto patents), the disposable glass syringe became widely available in 1954 (Beckton, Dickinson and Company from a patent by Arthur E Smith), and disposable plastic syringe in 1955 (Roehr Products, based on the same patent), and insulin injector pens became available only in 1985.

Until 1923, those afflicted with diabetes had only one possible treatment: that of controlling their diet and eliminating all sugars. Most died within a few years.

As I research treatment options, products, and consummables, I get a sense of the history of diabetics over the years. The various treatment options available over the past 30-50 years have been horrid.

I cannot help but feel a sense of emphathy, particularly for youth and children that had to use vials and regular needles to inject.

Novo Nordisk invented the injector pen in 1985 and made living with diabetes far more comfortable for all. Injector pens are available from three mainstream companies: Novo Nordisk for their NovoLog, NovaRapid, and Levemir insulins, Eli Lilly for their Humulin and Humalog insulins, and Sonafi-Aventis for their Lantus and Apidra insulins.

There are two types of injector pens available by all three mainstream manufacturers. Those are the pre-filled types where the pen and cartridge are an integrated unit. Pre-filled pens are disposable, that is once you use the contents of the cartridge, they cannot be refilled. You simply dispose of them and use a new pen. These are quite convenient and easy/simple to use use. The pre-filled pens are typically made entirely of plastic, with the exception of the insulin cartridge which is made of glass. There is a metal band on the tip of the cartridge, and a rubber plug (also on the cartridge).

The other type of pen is known as "durable". A durable pen is a two-part system where the insulin is in a separate cartridge. The cartridge is inserted into the pen for use. It takes approximately one to two minutes to insert a cartridge into a durable pen, less once you get familiar with the process. A durable pen is typically made of brass and heavier than a pre-filled pen. The lifespan of a durable pen is up to five years, although I have read about many users getting much longer lifespans from their durable pens.

I also want to point out that a pre-filled pen and its equivalent durable pen may or may not work the same. For example, the HumaPen Savvio (or Luxura) and its equivalent pre-filled version, the Humalog KwikPen, work differently. When you select the dosage and inject with the Humalog KwikPen the dial indicator and press-top slide back up. With the HumaPen Savvio (and Luxura), after injecting the dial indicator and press-top stay in position. The tactile action of remaining in position helps provide a sense that the insulin injection is complete and the full dose was injected. If it slides back up, you do not have that sense. I have made the mistake of re-injecting ...

The durable pens are also of varying quality. In many areas, these pens are free for the asking. It works like the razor-blade concept. Offer the razor for free or really cheap and made the profits from the razor blade. Ever wonder why razor blades are not interchangeable between razors? It is the same with diabetes products. That is why glucometers are free, insulin pens are free: the company wants you to buy their consummables (test strips, insulin cartridges, etc.).

I am not sure about this, and I will test it out soon – I have read that other diabetics have used Humalog cartridges in their ClikSTAR pens, and vice-versa Lantus and Apidra cartridges used in HumaPen Savvio/Luxura. I ended up pulling out my micrometer and measuring the different cartridges and testing in various injector pens. According to my tests, both are interchangeable, however, you will need to confirm this for yourself.

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