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Thread: Anyone use pen cartridges to fill their syringes or pump?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Hastings, MN

    Default Anyone use pen cartridges to fill their syringes or pump?

    I have heard that some people use insulin pen cartidges to fill syringes or their pump. I hear they do this because their is much less waste because their is far less insulin in a pen cartridge than in a bottle. Since pen cartridges are cheaper they save money. If the child is young, there is still enough insulin in a pen cartridge to last a month.

    Anyone doing this or has heard of this?
    Dave (non D)
    Father of Jacob (Type 1, dx'd 11/2005, born 12/11/2000)
    Medtronic Revel 722 since 1/08/2012; Apidra
    AccuCheck Aviva meter, Sure T infusion set
    Guardian CGM since 1/9/2012
    Former Animas and Dexcom user
    Husband to Tammy, Father of Andrea, 13 and Logan, 16 (all non D)

    "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde
    "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things." - Robert A. Heinlein

  2. #2


    I have heard of it. I can say that I have only done it out of emergency when I didn't realize that I was out of vials. But I don't have a young one anymore either.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Sure - we have used the cartridges to fill our pump. As far as waste - our situation is we have to fill our pump with a minimum of 80 units to activate the pump - we usually go for around 100 units. We NEVER use that much in 3 days - and I do not then try to extract the remaining insulin (but have heard of people who do). So either way - we have waste on our end.
    Nicky, mom to Cooper (9yrs - dx'd 11-06, Guardian Real Time CGM 4-07, Omnipod 8-07 ), Tucker (8yrs) & Teagan (5yrs)

  4. #4


    I don't worry about "wasting" insulin.

    I have filled needles form pump reservoirs when I thought the set was bad and I was out of the house

    Two older non diabetic kids. Two younger w T1.
    The Boy, dob 93 dx 10/03 Animas 2020
    The Girl, dob 97 dx 12/04 Animas Ping
    Dexcom CGMs used mostly to adjust Basal rates.

    YDMV's Tips for New Type 1 Parents

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Calgary, Alberta


    We have done it with all different types of insulin - Novorapid, Levemir, NPH, Lantus, and Humalog. No problem at all. Unlike using a vial though, you do not push air in first, just pull the insulin out. Sometimes it helps to push on the other end of the cartridge while you are drawing the insulin. The needle cover works well for that.

    We still only use about 1/3 - 2/3 of the penfill before the month runs out. But compared to the rest of the supplies, the insulin is the least expensive part of the process for us.

    Father to S. 6 yrs old. Diagnosed at 14 mo.
    MDI - Humalog and Lantus (both via Humapen Luxura, have also used NPH, NR and Levemir)
    Self confessed "meter junky" - Currently using Ascensia Contour USB, iBGStar and Precision Extra Ketone meters.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    I have been doing it for months. At first it was for shots, and now im doing it for the pump. I didn't know about it at first cause i thought i could blow the stopper, but i like it so much better then a vial! I get NO bubbles in the cartridges now, or very very few.

    When we were just using them for our shot we wasted a lot less insulin this way.

    Mom to
    Lathan 8 non D
    Kalissa 6 DX 9/6/06 - novalog, pumping Cozmo 11/21/07
    and Holtin 4 non D
    Wife to Rex DX T1 1977 - Humalog, pumping MM 722

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007



    We also only use cartridges for our syringes. (A bit simpler since it does not involve injecting air, just draw it out, as someone has already mentioned.) We were taught that way from the beginning.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Add us to the list of using pen vials. I like it too because if I would want to take additional insulin with me - it is much smaller to take. I am sure once he is done honeymooning we will go through a lot more insulin but the pen vials work for now. It was a little more awkward at first for us, but we soon got the hang of it.
    Son dx 2007, Pumping 2007
    Cgms 2008 Minimed Revel Pump 2010
    6mm Mios

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Zion, IL


    We do it too. Both for the lantus and novolog. It saved a ton of wasted when Iris was first dxd. Now that her insulin needs have risen, there is less and less. It works out fine.
    Mom to Iris (5/02) dxd @ 22 months
    Omni Pod 3/1/09
    Wesley (5/05) non-d

  10. #10


    We do it. We fill up and replace the reservoir every 7 to 10 days. It takes about 2/3's of a cartridge to fill it up.


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