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Could you recommend a "pen" for my 7 yr. old, diagnosed 2 months ago? She will be visiting my out-of-state mother who is 75 years old next month and I would like the injection procedure to be as easy as possible for her.

My daughter is now on a dose of only NPH, 4 units in a.m. and 2 at dinner. The dose might change to 3 units in a.m. as she is still running a bit low. Which of the pens is easiest for kids/older folks or friends? Should we get 2 (one for single unit delivery and one for 2 units?)

Any feedback from other parents would be appreciated.



The best pen device that's currently available in the United States is the new NovoPen 1.5, by Novo-Nordisk. In several other countries, Eli Lilly and Becton-Dickinson make a nice pen.

Don't waste any effort getting an older pen that only adjusts in 2-unit increments.

Be sure someone coaches your mother on several key points that aren't intuitive:

  • Do an "air-shot" of two units prior to each dose. Though it's wasted insulin, the gain is assurance that the needle isn't clogged and that everything's working okay is worth it.

  • Always mix the insulin thoroughly by shaking or rolling the pen many times, or else the NPH will not be uniformly distributed throughout the chamber. (This isn't necessary for Regular insulin).

  • Keep a bottle of Regular insulin, syringes, and the phone numbers of who to call for help, in case of emergencies. Might as well pack a bottle of NPH also, even if your daughter expects to use the pen device exclusively.

Another tip for the trip: the correct insulin doses could be predrawn into clearly-labeled standard syringes, rather than burden yourself, your daughter, and your mom with learning something new in a short amount of time between now and the visit.


Original posting 6 Jun 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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