Smart Insulin Pens for Diabetes
If there’s one thing positive about living with diabetes in our technological age, it’s that the advancements in diabetes treatment and care never stop coming. We have tools at our disposal that past generations couldn’t begin to comprehend – from the continuous glucose monitor to the insulin pump to a variety of new medication options that make managing diabetes a whole lot easier.
One of the biggest advancements buzzing around the diabetic community these days is the Smart Insulin Pen, a device that takes the tried-and-true insulin pen, which was introduced in the late 1980s as a simpler way to inject insulin versus a syringe, and adds some serious technological muscle to create a truly remarkable diabetes management tool.
What is a smart insulin pen?
A smart insulin pen Is a reusable pen that works with short-acting insulin cartridges (Novolog, Humalog, and Fiasp), which are inserted easily into the pen device. However, unlike traditional insulin pens, smart pens (sometimes referred to as connected pens) do much more than administer medicine.
Smart pens are technological wonders that are able to accurately calculate insulin doses based upon blood sugar level, meal size, carbohydrate consumption and other factors impacting blood sugar and insulin treatment. They can track and manage a person’s blood sugar history, help avoid insulin stacking, which can lead to hypoglycemia, and send reminders should you miss an insulin dose.
How does a smart insulin pen work?
Essentially, smart insulin pens use Bluetooth technology to send blood sugar and dosage data to a mobile app that can be installed on a standard smartphone. A smart insulin pen does a lot of things an insulin pump does in terms of allowing you to understand and manage your blood sugar and insulin treatment because it’s able to adapt to blood glucose levels at various times of day. Unlike an insulin pump, however, a smart insulin pen is not permanently tethered to your body. You don’t sleep with it and there are no cumbersome infusion sets to deal with on a regular basis. Instead, you’ll be using standard disposable pen needles just like with an ordinary insulin pen.
Smart insulin pens can:
- Calculate insulin dose based on current blood sugar reading, meal size, carb intake, active insulin, and other factors.
- Track and record insulin dosage and share data with clinicians
- Set reminders for insulin dosing and remind you if a dose is missed
- Automatically adjust to changes in time zones
- Use internal bolus calculators to accurately set insulin-to-carb ratios
- Help avoid insulin stacking (which can result in hypoglycemia) because the pen is able to calculate how much insulin is still in the body from the prior injections and deliver the right amount for the current dose.
Why smart pens are making headlines
There are a lot of reasons to consider a smart insulin pen, particularly if your individual diabetes care and treatment plan requires multiple injections each day and a whole lot of testing and blood sugar monitoring. Let’s look at a few key reasons to ask your doctor about a smart insulin pen.
- Better control without cumbersome connections
For years now, many people have moved to insulin pumps and infusion sets as a way of gaining and maintaining more control over their blood glucose. Pumps represent a great advancement in diabetes treatment; however, they do have to be worn and there are tubes and cannulas to deal with that can be frustrating for many people. Smart insulin pens, on the other hand, are entirely free from connections and deliver a lot of the same insulin insight and control as a pump. Best of all, the only time you’ll be connected is for the instant you inject your insulin using a standard pen needle.
- Low cost
If you are currently using an insulin pump, you know they don’t come cheap. Even with a solid medical insurance plan, people often end up spending a large amount on infusion sets and other supplies. Smart insulin pens, however, are about as affordable as it gets. How does $35 per year sound? Because that’s the price being touted by InPen (made by Medtronic), the current smart insulin pen provider available in the United States.
- Goes anywhere with ease
A smart insulin pen is no bigger than a standard insulin pen, so the convenience of easy carrying and traveling is a big advantage. Grab your smart pen and some spare pen needles and you’re good to go – anywhere. A smart insulin pen fits easily into a purse, backpack, or jacket pocket and no one needs to know you’re carrying it.
- Helps you avoid insulin stacking
This one is worth mentioning again. A smart insulin pen does the blood sugar calculations for you, and it knows how much insulin is in your body from previous treatments. So you get the correct insulin dosage and avoid stacking which can lead to hypoglycemic episodes.
- Records your treatment history
You know how important it is to track your blood sugar and diabetes medication history. It’s how you and your diabetes physician manage and adjust your personal diabetes care plan. If you’re an MDI patient (multiple daily injections), logging your data can be difficult and confusing. But not with an insulin smart pen. These devices automatically log your blood glucose data, treatment times and doses. They can even share data with your physician’s team for seamless and more effective diabetes management.
- No batteries or charging to worry about
One of the less-obvious advantages of insulin smart pens is that they are designed to be used for a year without ever having to charge the pen or switch out dead batteries. Once you have a doctor-prescribed pen, you’re good for a year before it’s time for a new one.
Right now, your options are limited
As with most medical breakthroughs, with insulin smart pens there is a period between product introduction and widespread availability, and this is where we happen to be at the moment. While a number of companies are in the process of making their insulin smart pens available in the United States, currently only one brand is approved and available – InPen by Medtronic.
InPen is approved for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and is covered at least in part by the majority of insurance providers. Of course, the first step to determining whether a smart insulin pen is right for you is to talk with your diabetes physician and care team. If it makes sense, your doctor can write you a prescription and you can begin enjoying the advantages of this exciting diabetes treatment innovation.
We hope you found this blog interesting and informative. At Diabetic Warehouse, we understand the challenges of living with diabetes and know the best thing you can do to stay healthy once diagnosed is adhere to your doctor-prescribed testing and treatment program.
To help, we offer a complete selection of diabetic supplies and equipment from leading manufacturers, including FreeStyle, Dexcom, Accu-Chek, True Metrix, One Touch, Contour Next, BD Ultra-Fine and many others at savings of up to 65%. Visit us online to shop for glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, infusion sets, continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM), ketone test strips, blood pressure monitors, and all your diabetic accessories.