Apidra is a rapid-acting (bolus) insulin that is injected within 15 minutes before or within 20 minutes after starting a meal .Your doctor will prescribe instructions to either inject before or after a meal and possibly have "corrective" dosage if your blood glucose level remains high several hours after a meal or snack.
The effects typically start within 15 minutes of injecting, peak in about one hour after injecting, and continues working for 2 to 4 hours.
Apidra is available as a pre-filled pen like the one above called the SoloStar. This is a unit that is disposable. Once the insulin cartridge is empty, throw out the pen and use a new one. There are no choices in SoloStar products, the colour you get is blue and it is a plastic product. It is not easy to be discreet with SoloStar pen ... while it does look like a marker, it is also has all the labels that emphasize it is a medical product. The SoloStar comes packaged one to box (if you need a case, you will have to buy one).
SoloStar can use BD style needles in various sizes. (BD = Becton Dickinson). These are available in 4mm (Nano), 5mm, 8mm, and 12.7mm. I use the 4mm Nano needles and they seem perfect. BD 4mm Nano needles are packaged in a box containing 10 bags each with 5 needles.
I started using Apidra with the ClikSTAR pen. While the SoloStar is a great and convenient product, I have to inject insulin for the rest of my life ... I want my supplies to be more personalized. The ClikSTAR fits the bill, it is a more solid and less obtrusive pen that looks more like a high-end pen. The ClikSTAR is a bit heavier than the SoloStar and is apparently made of brass. It has a lifespan of 5 years. I have found it more solid, not only in feeling, but in actual use. The dose dial feels firmer. The ClikSTAR includes a two-pen zip up case with a mesh pocket for consummables (like needles and disinfecting wipes). The case is quite handy and has a bit of padding to protect the ClikSTAR. The case has a moulded plastic retainer that will hold two pens. This is great for those that inject both long-acting and rapid-acting insulin.
Other than aesthetics and weight, there is not much difference between the SoloStar and ClikSTAR. The ClikSTAR does use separate cartridges ... there are advantages and disadvantes to this. The only disadvantage I can think of is the minute or two it takes to insert it into the ClikSTAR. For advantages, the packaging is much smaller and a lot easier to store.
In Canada, the ClikSTAR is availale in two colours (silver and blue). In other areas there are three colours available (silver, blue, and black). You will not likely find anything but silver available through your pharmacy. According to Sanofi, they expect users of Lantus to use Silver, and users of Apidra to use Blue. They will provide you with a customer support phone number that you can give to your pharmacy to order you a colour other than Silver.
In Ontario Canada, the ClikSTAR is available for free and includes the case. All you have to do is ask your pharmacy for it.
Apidra is a product of Sanofi-Aventis.