March 5, 2013

How Accurate are New vs. Used Insulin Pens?


accuracyWhat guarantee do we have that the insulin  pens we use are as accurate on day 365 compared to day 1?

A study, published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics,  reveals just how sharp our doses continue to be in the long-run. It’s surprising.

The study compared the dosing accuracy  This study compared the dosing accuracy of 11 new and 11 used Novopens. The used pens were over 1 year old.

For those of you concerned, this study was conducted in a laboratory and not on humans. The insulin doses were measured by volume. It was done 15 times for each pen to ensure the accuracy of the test.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) limits of 10% for 8 IU and 5% for 32 IU was tested. These percentages are set to standardize the accuracy for medical devices. The err of margin is 5% – 10% in insulin dosing but 20% in glucose testing. At least that’s the standard in the USA.

For the 8 IU dose, the mean delivered dose was 8.04 IU in new pens and 7.91 IU in used insulin pens. For the 32 IU dose, the mean delivered dose was 31.90 in new pens and 31.68 IU in used insulin pens. Three individual doses in the 32 IU dose exceeded the ISO range in the lower range.

There was a significant difference between the accuracy of new versus used insulin pens.

Forgive me for unsolicited advice, but if you’re using an insulin pen that misses the mark – I’m pretty sure you and your healthcare professional can push the issue with your health insurance provider.

As much as you don’t want to get a wrong dose delivered, your health insurance company doesn’t want to get a claim for the emergency room visit because your insulin pen misfired.

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