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From Arkansas:

I have had Type 1 diabetes for 22 years. I have exellent control of my blood sugar and I am on a self management program. I have two questions. Is there any way to buy insulin in bigger containers? I am on a fixed income and if I could save money buying larger bottles, it would help.

Also, when I travel, I buy the pens to carry. Are there any that are refillable? All I have been able to find is disposable.


In the United States, insulin is available in 10 ml. (10 c.c.) vials, and in two versions of pens.

To save money on insulin purchases, shop around at different pharmacies, and compare prices that are quoted by mail-order suppliers in the Shopper's Guide in the back of every issue of Diabetes Forecast magazine.

Both of the pens that are available in the U.S. are made by Novo Nordisk: one is called the Novolin Prefilled™, and the other, the NovoPen® 1.5 insulin delivery system. These are the names used by Novo Nordisk in the U.S.; they use other names in other countries.

The Novolin Prefilled is totally disposable after use; it comes in versions with N, R, or 70/30 insulin. The newer NovoPen 1.5 is not disposable, and holds replaceable 1.5 cc glass cartridges of N, R, or 70/30 insulin.

In other countries, Eli Lilly and Bectin-Dickinson have a similar replaceable-cartridge pen device.

None of the pen devices are designed to be refillable, and all are somewhat more expensive than using standard needles and syringes, especially if you, like many other people, reuse the needle-syringe units. But the needles for the pen devices, like standard needle-syringe units, are also reused by many people.


Original posting 28 Jun 96


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