Search this site
Article Listings
Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
Active Kids in Winter
Athletic Skin Infections
Children, Nutrition and Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Comfort
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussion in Sport
Core Stability
Cross Country Skiing
Exercise and Disabilities
Exercise at Every Age
Exercise in the Heat
Exercise is Medicine
Exercise Options
Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
Footwear for Running
From Surviving to Thriving
Gadgets and Gizmos
Get Moving!
Get Motivated
Golf Exercises
Golf Injury Prevention
Head Injuries
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Hockey Injuries
Home Gyms
Jump Start Weight Loss
Knee Cap Pain
Knee Ligament Injuries
Live Actively
Low Back Pain
Osteoporosis and Exercise
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Plantar Fasciitis
Prehistoric Workout
Recreational Safety Equipment
Safe Snow Shovelling
Shin Splints
Ski Conditioning
Sore Elbow
Sore Shoulder
Spinal Cord Injuries
Staying Active
Staying Fit in the Cold
Sports Nutrition and Supplements
Strength Training
Swimming Injuries
Teen Sports Injuries
Tendon Troubles
Water and Exercise
Weight Training
7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Adolescent Behaviour Problems
Adolescent Growth and Development
Body Image
Body Piercing
Chronic Diseases in Teens
Communications Skills
Concussion in Sport
Cosmetics and Skincare
Dangers of Artificial Tanning
Drug Use
Female Physical Exam
First Period
Internet Safety
Junior High
Mentoring to Quit Smoking
Parent-Teen Communication
Parent -Teen Interaction Patterns
Personal Care
Psychological Assessment
School Problems
Self Esteem
Self Esteem and Body Image
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talking About Sex
Taking Chances
Teaching Respect
Teens and Smoking
Teenage Blues
Teen Bedwetting
Teen Drivers
Teen Girls
Teen Health
Teen Immunization
Teen Independence
Teen Rebellion
Teens and Divorce
Teenagers and Sexual Issues
Teens and Exercise
Water and Exercise
A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Ask the Doctor
Aspirin Every Day?
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Genetic Screening in Pregnancy
My Doctor Says I Need a Test
My Doctor Diagnosed Osteoarthritis
Restore Your Core
Should I Exercise During pregnancy?
Vaccination Controversies
Zika Virus Infection
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Blood Pressure
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
Exercise During Pregnancy
Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Maternity and parental leave
Medication and Pregnancy
Managing Your Own Labour
Monitoring Your Labour
Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun and Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight Gain
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum and Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Full Listing with story descriptions
Asthma in Children
Attention Deficit Disorder
Bedtime Battles
Bed Wetting & Toilet Training
Childcare Options
Children's Headaches
Childhood Obesity
Choosing A Babysitter
Colds and Flu
Common Childhood Skin Infections
Developmental Milestones
Diaper Rash
Daytime Wetting
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
Feeding Your Baby
Feeding Your Toddler
Head Lice
How Children Grow
Hearing Loss
Hearing Issues in Newborns
Heart Murmers
Hip Clicks
Influenza and the Common Cold
Is it an Emergency?
Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Learning Disabilities
Leg Problems
Preparing for Lab Tests
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
Sick Toddler
Sleep Struggles
Sniffles, Fevers, Rashes and Coughs
Introducing Solid Foods
Sore Throats
Speech Problems
Strep Throat
Toddler Safety
Tooth Injuries
Travelling with Children
Urinary Tract Infections
Vaccination and Autism
When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Pain Medications
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
Dental Exam
Dental Care Devices
Dental Caries
Dental Implants
Dental Patient Treatment Decisions
Dental X-Rays
Dental care tips for babies
Dentures and Healthy Jaw
Esthetic Dentistry
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Benefits of Physical Activity
Blood Glucose Management
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
New Canada Food Guide
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Distress
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out with Diabetes
Drinking and Diabetes
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating Mindfully
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fill Your Day with Energy
Diabetic Retinopathy
Food Temptation
Foot Care & Diabetes
Foot Health
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glucose Meters
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Going Home from the Hospital
Grocery Shopping Tips
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Holiday Eating Tips
Health Information on the 'Net
Happy Healthy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
Heart Health
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization and Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Improving Injections
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Mental Health and Diabetes
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
New Diabetes Technologies
New Medications to Help Manage Diabetes
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Patient-Centered Care
Pedicure Precautions
Pain of Walking - Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Social Media and Diabetes
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Wonderful Water
World Diabetes Day
Working Toward a Cure
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Antibiotic Use
Aspirin Every Day?
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Decision Making Capacity Assessment
Diabetes Management
Diagnostic Tests
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
Dealing with Dry Eyes
Electronic Medical Records
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Flash Glucose Monitoring
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Get Active!
Healthcare Teams
Heart Health
Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
High Blood Pressure
How to Talk to Your Doctor
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Myeloma
Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
Prostate Problems
Quitting Smoking
Red Eyes
Respiratory Tract Infections
Screening Tests
Special Diagnostic Tests
Sports Eye Injuries
Stopping Stroke
Urine Tests
Win by Losing
Urinary Incontinence
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Cuts and Scrapes
Emergency Care Guidelines
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Poisoning - Household
Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Aging Gracefully
Alzheimer Disease
Avoiding Memory Loss
Building Strength
Caring for the Caregiver
Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Cataract Surgery Advances
Congestive Heart Failure
Coping with Dementia
Controlling Medications
Diagnosing Dementia
Dementia and Agitation
Dizziness (Vertigo)
Eating Well
Elder Abuse
Exercise Benefits
Erectile Dysfunction
Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Fungal Nail Infections
Get Active!
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Joint Replacement
Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Parkinson Disease
Problem Gambling
Prostate Health
Seniors and Medications
Senior Sexuality
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Skin Structure
Skin Protection
Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Diabetes Epidemic
Diseases from Pets
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Sandals in January (Winter Tires)
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Vaccination Controversies
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Myths about Nutrition and Diabetes
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Begin with Breakfast
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter and Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits and Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fat Phobias
Fats and Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Meal Planning for Busy Families
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits and Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss Wisdom
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heart Health
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports and Nutrition Supplements
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bug Off
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Cannabis Risks
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
Sun Safety
Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Tattoo Safety
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menopause and Your Moods
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Vulva 101-What you should know
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
spacer   spacer pharmacy image pharmacy
Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes

Injecting Insulin
Syringes or pens... which are right for you?

If you need to inject insulin, you want to choose the delivery device that is right for you. Two types are available – insulin syringes and insulin pens.


When insulin is supplied in a vial, a syringe must be used. Before each injection, insulin is drawn from the vial into the syringe. A number of companies make these syringes, which come in three different sizes: 3/10 cc, ½ cc, and 1 cc.

When choosing a syringe, knowing how much insulin you require at one time is important. Using a smaller volume syringe ensures the accuracy of your dose.

  • 3/10 cc syringes are marked in one-unit intervals, ideal for doses under 30 units.
  • ½ cc syringes are marked in one-unit intervals, for doses between 30 to 50 units.
  • 1 cc syringes are marked in two-unit intervals, and are meant for doses over 50 units.

Shorter needles are now available. Such needles are thinner and finer than on regularly sized syringes. Shorter needles may not be appropriate for everyone, especially those on the heavier side. In this case, insulin may not reach the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Always speak to your diabetes educator or pharmacist before deciding which needle length is suitable for you.

Novo Nordisk Pen 3Insulin pens

An insulin pen is a device that allows you to inject insulin with greater ease. Insulin pens can hold a 3 mL cartridge of insulin at one time. The pen consists of a cartridge holder, a tip to attach a pen needle, a plunger that pushes the insulin forward when insulin is dialed, and a window where you can see the insulin.

Two types of insulin pens are available: reusable and prefilled insulin pens.

Once the insulin in a cartridge has been used up, the reusable insulin pen can be refilled with a new cartridge. With prefilled insulin pens, the cartridge holder cannot be removed from the insulin pen and so it cannot be refilled. The device may be disposed of in the regular garbage after the needle is removed and placed in a sharps container. Four companies currently make insulin pens: Novo Nordisk, Lilly, Owen Mumford, and Sanofi Aventis.

Novo Nordisk Pen 3The Novo Nordisk Pen® 3 can inject up to 70 units of insulin at one time. It comes in blue and silver. Each unit is marked with even numbered units in bold to make them easier to see. All brands of insulin pen needles (also called pen tips) will fit this pen. If too much insulin is dialed, the pen can be dialled back. Before a new cartridge can be put in, the piston on the pen must be dialed back to allow the cartridge to fit. Only the Novo Nordisk 3 mL insulin cartridges fit this pen. For those who use Novo Nordisk insulin, pens are provided free of charge through the pharmacy or doctor’s office. This pen is currently being discontinued and is available only while supplies last.

Novo Nordisk Pen 4The Novo Nordisk Pen® 4 comes in blue or silver and can inject up to 60 units of insulin at one time. Each unit is marked with even numbered units in bold so they are easier to see. All brands of insulin pen needles fit this pen. Again, it can be dialed back if too much insulin has been specified. Only Novo Nordisk 3 mL insulin cartridges fit the Novo Nordisk Pen 4. A magnified window and an inner mechanism allow users to both see and hear the number of units dialed. Numbers on the cartridge holder are in bold as well. There is no need to dial back the piston when putting in a new cartridge. A gentle push of the finger will bring the piston into position. The pen is available at no cost through local pharmacies, diabetes centres and doctors.

Novo Pen JuniorNovo Pen Junior® comes in orange and green. This pen holds up to 35 units of insulin at one time. Each ½ unit and full unit is marked. All brands of insulin pen needles (also called pen tips) will fit this pen. If too much insulin is dialed, the pen can be dialed back. Before a new cartridge can be put in, the piston on the pen must be dialed back to allow the cartridge to fit. Only the Novo Nordisk 3 mL insulin cartridges fit this pen. For those who use Novo Nordisk insulin, pens are provided free of charge through the pharmacy, doctor’s office or the diabetes education centres.

Lilly HumapenThe Lilly HumaPen® can inject up to 60 units of insulin at a time and comes in teal or burgundy. Each unit is marked, with even numbered units in bold for easier viewing. All brands of pen needles (or pen tips) will fit. The pen can be dialed back if too much insulin is dialed. Only the Lilly brand of 3 mL insulin cartridges fit the HumaPen. However, the HumaPen is currently being discontinued.

Lilly Humapen LuxuraThe Lilly HumaPen® Luxura™ can inject up to 60 units of insulin at one time, and comes in burgundy and champagne. The first 10 units are all individually marked. After that, units are marked in two-unit intervals. Like the HumaPen, dialling back is possible on this pen, and only the Lilly brand of 3 mL insulin cartridges will fit. The dose window is magnified, making the number of units dialled easier to read. It is also possible to hear the number of units dialled. This pen is not free, but new users of Lilly brand insulin can receive the HumaPen Luxura at no charge from their local pharmacy. Otherwise, the cost is about $90.

Autopen 24The Autopen® 24 is made by Owen Mumford. It comes in two different colours and two different unit capacities. This pen only works with the Lantus 3 mL insulin cartridges, though all pen needles (pen tips) fit. Green pens hold one to 21 units, and dial insulin in one-unit intervals to a maximum of 21 units. Blue pens hold one to 42 units and can only dial insulin in two-unit intervals up to 42 units. This pen cannot dial back if an overdose of insulin is in place. It is then recommended to fully expel the misdialed dose and redial the required dose.

Lantus SoloStarThe Lantus® SoloSTAR™ can dial up to 80 units of insulin and comes only in grey. This is a prefilled disposable insulin pen. Each unit is marked, with even numbers in bold for easier viewing. All brands of pen needles fit. This insulin pen can be dialed back if too much insulin is dialed. Sanofi Aventis makes both Lantus insulin and the SoloSTAR insulin delivery device.

Using an insulin pen

All insulin pens must be primed to be sure that insulin is flowing out of the pen needle before an injection.

A pen may need to be primed several times to get insulin flowing. Each insulin pen company has its own instructions about priming. Please refer to the instructions that come with your particular insulin pen. Remember:

  • Do not share your pen or needles with anyone. A number of illnesses carried in blood can be transmitted this way, such as HIV and some hepatitis infections.
  • The insulin pen containing the insulin that you are currently using should not be stored in the refrigerator. Insulin should be at room temperature before injection. Cold insulin may be more painful when injected and may also be absorbed more slowly. All extra insulin penfills should be stored in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Do not store pens with a needle attached, as the needle may trap air and contaminate your insulin.
  • Use a new pen tip for each injection.
  • Used tips can bend and not deliver the correct dose of insulin. Pen tips are very fine and are meant for only a single use.
  • Remove the pen tip after every injection. This ensures a fresh pen tip is used every time an insulin injection is done.
  • Always have a back up for insulin, pen needles and syringes, in case your regular pen does not work properly or is lost or damaged.

Insulin pen needles

Insulin pen needlesCurrently three companies make the pen tips: BD, Novo Nordisk, and Owen Mumford. Insulin pen tips come in variety of gauges (thickness) and lengths.

Five or six mm pen needles are generally recommended for children and smaller people with low to moderate body fat who want the shortest pen needle available. These pen needles can be used with any insulin pen. There is no need to pinch the skin when injecting insulin with these needles.

The eight mm pen needle tips are most commonly used. These work best with skin pinched when injecting the insulin.

The 12 mm or 12.7 mm pen needle tips are recommended for those who take large doses of insulin and have dexterity problems with their hands. Skin does need to be pinched when injecting insulin with these needles.

Syringes and pen needle tips are only meant for one time use. A silicone coating on syringes and pens tips ensures smooth and easy injections. Using a syringe or pen tip over and over will cause more pain. Insulin can be contaminated when puncturing the rubber stopper on the insulin vial if air is allowed into the vial or cartridge. If too much air is allowed into the insulin cartridge, it can also mean inaccurate doses.

Advances in technology are allowing thinner and finer syringes and pen tips. Repeatedly using syringes and pen tips can mean that at some point the needle may break, possibly leaving fragments of metal in the skin.

If you use two different types of insulin at one meal, insulins that can be safely mixed can be combined in a syringe but not in an insulin pen. With an insulin pen, two injections may be needed to get each kind of insulin. Always check with your nurse educator or pharmacist on how to combine doses.

Disposing of syringes and pen needles

Check with your local pharmacy about proper disposal. Ask if the pharmacy has a program to accept used sharps.

Never throw used lancets, syringes, or pen needles in the regular garbage. These items must all go in an approved sharps container. Such containers display a biohazard symbol, showing approval from the health department.

When disposing of used sharps, do not overfill the sharps container. Only fill to the line indicated on the container. Once full, seal the lid securely, place in a plastic bag and take it to your local pharmacy. Do not put used sharps in coffee cans, bleach bottles or glass jars, as most pharmacies will not accept used sharps in anything other than approved sharps containers. Keep all sharps containers away from children and pets.

FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of:
College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of:
College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2019, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 0S1    [DI_MDa08]
Safeway Med Advisor / Safeway Pharmacy logos
Safeway Med Advisor / Safeway Pharmacy logos