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Who doesn't want to make living with diabetes a little easier? New generations of insulin pens promise to do just that.
"Smart pens" have advanced technology that enables them to automatically log your insulin dosing, tell you how much to inject, and more. Some smart pens are already on the market, and others are in development. Features vary from model to model.
A closer look
The first full-featured smart pen available in the United States is InPen, made by Companion Medical. It uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data to a companion app in your smartphone. Besides keeping your logbook up to date, InPen can:
" Show your most recent doses at a glance
" Tell you how much of that insulin is still active
" Calculate and recommend insulin dosing
" Remind you when it's time to take insulin
" Alert you if you have missed a dose
" Monitor insulin temperature to help prevent spoilage
" Instantly create reports showing trends over days, weeks, or months
" Share data with your doctor and whomever you choose
InPen is compatible with Lilly and Novo Nordisk insulin cartridges and needles. It's reusable and designed to last one year. InPen is not yet sold in pharmacies, but you can get it from the manufacturer. You need a prescription to buy InPen, and you should check your insurance to see whether it's covered.
The InPen app can be found in the Apple store, and an Android version is expected soon.
What else is out there?
Emperra Digital Diabetes Care sells the ESYSTA Pen system in Europe, but it is not yet approved for sale in the U.S. Older devices such as NovoPen Echo and the Timesulin insulin pen cap aren't as "smart," offering more limited functions and features (though you may find their simplicity appealing). Novo Nordisk's new NovoPen 5 Plus is being tested in Sweden. BD and Lilly may also market new smart devices in the next couple of years.
If an insulin pump is too expensive or complicated for you, a smart pen may be an easier way to help you manage diabetes. Consider discussing it with your doctor and Certified Diabetes Educator.
Have you used a smart pen? We'd love to hear what you think. Add your comment below.