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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2009 Sep-Oct;49(5):e118-31. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2009.08125.

Overview of insulin delivery pen devices.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



To review currently available insulin delivery pen devices for use in diabetes and to describe their primary benefits and drawbacks in comparison with the traditional vial/syringe method of insulin administration.


Not applicable.


Insulin delivery pen devices are available for most types of insulin, including all insulin analog preparations and insulin premixes with rapid-acting insulin or regular insulin with neutral protamine Hagedorn insulin. Some devices have a replaceable insulin cartridge (categorized as reusable or durable); other devices are prefilled and are disposed of after the insulin reservoir is emptied. Insulin delivery pens offer several advantages over the vial and syringe method of injection, including greater ease and discretion of use and improved portability, adherence, and dosing accuracy. The tactile and auditory feedback provided by the dosing dial on insulin delivery pen devices may be particularly helpful for patients who have impaired manual dexterity or vision. Studies also show a strong preference among patients in favor of insulin delivery pen devices compared with the vial/syringe method. Finally, despite greater per-unit cost, insulin delivery pen devices have also been associated with reductions in health resource use and associated costs compared with vial/syringe therapy.


Insulin delivery pen devices offer another option to patients with diabetes for insulin administration. They are associated with not only improved ease of use but also improved dosing accuracy and adherence to therapy. To develop the most suitable insulin regimens for their patients, health providers should be informed about available insulin delivery pen devices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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