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Using insulin pens as vials?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Junosmom, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Junosmom

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    Son is now on Omnipod filled with Novolog from vials. Because of both honeymooning (not using as much insulin) and the timing of receiving the pump, we have twelve Novolog FlexPens in our refrigerator unused. They have an expiration date some time from now (9/2015) and from what I've read here, I should probably keep a few back for emergency use or if for some reason we could not pump (pump failure, etc.) But I don't think I need to keep 12 pens as they are 300 U each, he currently uses about 50 U a day, and maybe two pens should be held as a back up. (Anyone suggest more?)

    I asked a pharmacist if I could use the FlexPen as a vial - the end of it is similar to a vial - by sticking the Omnipod fill syringe into the end of it. She said the insulin was the same, and saw no reason not to try it to use up that insulin. I was wondering if anyone had ever tried to do this?

    I also have 10 Lantus pens which have a 2016 expiration date, so no hurry. I though to see how this year goes, and if I don't need them, see if Dr. office wanted them for patients without means (don't know if they can legally do this?) or perhaps, as suggested on here, a vet office (though I don't know if dogs use Lantus?)
     
  2. kiwikid

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    I think the only problem could be is that the cap on the pen vials is quite a bit thicker than on a vial. We fill our pump cartridges from penfills by pushing down on the orange stopper end of the penfill with a pencil.. I don't know if that would work with an Omnipod?
     
  3. wilf

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    We're on MDI, and use the pen vials for all injections. They are slimmer and easier to carry than the big ones. You should be fine.
     
  4. Jen_in_NH

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    You can definitely use the pens. With the new Omnipods, the needle to filll the pod is a bit too short. If you still have one of the older pods, the needle is long enough to do it easily.

    The other option is to put one of the pen needles on and inject all the insulin from the pen into a not-full vial. Don't try to fil it more than 3/4 of the way full.

    If neither idea works for you, maybe your endo or pediatrician will give you a longer needle (like for an immunization. Any luer-adapter needle will fit the Omnipod syringe.
     
  5. ksartain

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    I pulled the insulin out of our last pen vial of Humalog last week. It worked fine with the syringe that came with the pod. Just don't push air into the pen vial first.
     
  6. nanhsot

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    My son only gets an Rx for pens, less wasted insulin overall. With vials we'd always end up with a few going at the same time, it was just confusing. With pens he uses one to fill a full cartridge. Easy peasy.
     
  7. Junosmom

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    Ah, didn't think of that - put it back in a bottle. Brilliant idea! I will try this when the next vial is empty. (I do have one vial left if I should not be able to figure out using the pen.)
     
  8. Junosmom

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    Our current fill up is 100 U to last 2 days. I would have liked to have had a 300 U pump, but son was insistent on no tubes. (We can put more insulin in up to 200 U but only currently need 100.) Thanks for letting me know it works.
     
  9. Junosmom

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    Glad to know this about the air. Didn't know that. Thank you!
     
  10. Junosmom

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    I'll let you know when I try it :)
     
  11. virgo39

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    We use Novolog pen fill cartridges to fill the Omnipod. I don't know how the FlexPen compares, but we simply insert the syringe for filling the pod into the pen fill and pull the insulin out -- as a PP mentioned, unlike withdrawing insulin from vials, we don't push air into the pen fill first. We waste far less insulin this way and find it more convenient generally.
     
  12. Junosmom

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    I don't understand the difference between a FlexPen and a pen fill. Could you explain for me please?
     
  13. jmg707

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    We have done it with no problems. Actually filled syringes from the pens before even starting on the Pod. Only thing to watch for is the air bubbles.
     
  14. virgo39

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    We don't use the FlexPen, so I don't know how it differs. I was describing the pen fill cartridges used by the Novopoen Jr. The insulin pen fill is a small glass cylinder with an orange stopper at one end and a membrane on the other. The syringe is inserted into the membrane and as insulin is pulled out, the stopper moves in. When used in the Novopen, one dials the dose and a screw type thing presses against the stopper, which in turn pushes the insulin through the pen needle (which pokes through the membrane).
     
  15. jkrjk

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    On this same subject… once you use a pen to withdraw insulin (like from a vial) is it ok to use as a pen again?? Anyone do this?
     
  16. virgo39

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    We do this infrequently. We keep the pen fill cartridge we are using to fill pods with in the NovoPen Jr. and will take it with us as back up or if we have an unexpectedly stubborn BG that warrants and injection rather than pump correction. The screw-type thing that pushes the stopper to push the insulin through the pen needle won't be in the correct spot, so we keep dialing and pushing on the end until it meets the stopper, if you know what I mean.
     
  17. mmgirls

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    I think the flex pen is like the Lantus Solo star pen. It's the whole pen, when the insulin is done you toss the whole emptybpen.

    Nov Jr pens have a glass insulin cartridge you load into the pen, you just replace the cartridge when empty.

    either way I have filled pump cartridges and syringes with both types, without issue. The tops of all of them is a self healing membrane, and I have not seen an issue with the bigger puncture to the top.
     
  18. Junosmom

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    Thanks to all for all the information. I will try this when the next time we need a new vial. I'll report back my results.
     
  19. Junosmom

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    Was able to use the Flex Pen today to load the Omnipod. I didn't push air in as you suggested. I turned the dial, and it wasn't the easiest to pull it out, but I did it. Glad not to waste all that insulin. Thanks for advice.
     

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