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June 21, 2003

Insulin Analogs

Question from :

Henderson, Nevada, USA: My three year old son, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 16 months ago, uses a very small amount of Humalog, and due to the expense of his medication when we were using the 10 ml vials, we opted for the cartridges (five 3 ml cartridges per package). The major difference is that we still give him his medication using a syringe versus using the Inject-Ease that the cartridges were designed for. We called the manufacturer to ask if we could administer the insulin using the syringe instead of the Inject-Ease, and we were informed that there had not been any testing done on the cartridges to see if the effectiveness of the insulin was compromised when used this way. The box of five cartridges lasts us about five months, and we find that he requires more insulin and his blood glucose readings have been high, especially since using the cartridges. However, honestly, we aren't sure if his readings were abnormally high even when we used the vials. Do you thing using cartridges instead of viaLs is possibly affecting his readings?

Answer:

The biggest problem with using cartridges instead of multidose insulin vials may be the fact that the rubber stopper isn’t truly designed for multiple punctures. Otherwise, the isn’t much likely different between the insulins or preservative in the two types of glass vials, I suspect.

I would defer to what you and your diabetes team see vis-a-vis blood glucose control. You can also get empty sterile vials from the manufacturer, or your team can request these free of charge from their representatives. Then you can take the 1000 unit vials of insulin and split into three bottles to get the same effect without having to worry about using a cartridge instead of a multidose vial. No lost insulin, then.

SB

[Editor’s comment: I believe you are referring to an insulin pen device since the Inject-Ease� is used in conjunction with syringes.

SS]