Having options for managing diabetes is so important because people are different and have different needs. This is also important for children who have diabetes, some of whom do not want to wear an insulin pump. What’s great is that there are more options than just pens or syringes, there are also smart pens.
What exactly is a smart pen? It’s a device that allows you to track when the last injection was taken from the pen which helps people know how much active insulin is still circulating. This is HUGE because it can help prevent low blood sugars related to stacking insulin or overcorrecting.
There are a few different smart pens available, depending on where you live. The first generations included the NovoPen Echo, which displays the last time a bolus was given.1 There are also some that fit over insulin pens and communicate with apps on smartphones.2
The newer smart pens, such as InPen, have more sophisticated features which make it very comparable to the functions of an insulin pump.3 For example, you can input personalized settings such as insulin to carb ratios, correction factors, etc. and it will calculate recommended doses for you.3
Smart pens also have the following possible features:3
- Smartphone app connected to the pen
- Insulin calculator functions where you can put personalized settings
- Tracking of data to help manage patterns
- Ease of sending data to health care team
- Remote monitoring of pen use by caregiver
While smart insulin pens seem like a great idea for children, there has not been a lot of data about their use by children. The team at NYU Pediatric Diabetes Center published a review of the data on Smart Pens and included experiences they have had in their clinic to help encourage more health care providers to offer this option to their families.
If you think that using a smart pen could be beneficial to you or your family, talk to your health care team to see if they have any experience using such devices. You can also look on the manufacturers’ websites for more information.
- NovoPen Echo®
- Insulin Pens Connect to DIABNEXT™ APP using CLIPSULIN™
- Pediatric Smart Insulin Pen Use: The Next Best Thing
Written and clinically reviewed by Marissa Town, RN, BSN, CDCES