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Insulin Pens vs. Vials and Syringes: The Pharmacist's Role in Individualizing Therapy

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As pharmacists strive for tighter glucose control in their patients, several considerations exist including the selection of insulin delivery administration methods. Traditionally, insulin administration using vials and syringes has been common, but insulin pens are also a viable option. Insulin pens have been shown to increase patient autonomy, which may impact adherence. Elderly patients, who may suffer from dexterity and visual impairment, have been shown to prefer insulin pens because they are easier to use. Although insulin pens are more expensive per mL, some patients may find an economic advantage with insulin pens based on copays and beyond-use dating. In long-term care settings, the additional cost of insulin pens may be offset by the reduced insulin-administration time. Pharmacists are well suited to advocate for their patients and to help select the insulin administration method that considers individual limitations and fiscal realities, and will best support the patient's disease management.
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Keywords: Diabetes; Insulin; Insulin pen; Medication-dosing devices

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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