It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t realize the importance of insulin injections for people with diabetes mellitus. However, while vials and syringes are wide-known and accepted, insulin pens and cartridges are still seen as something new that fascinates even those who take insulin daily.

But what are the benefits of insulin pen devices? Perhaps, there are some ways in which the vial and syringe method is superior to using cartridges and pens? Let’s find out!

What Are Vials?

An insulin vial is a small bottle with a rubber top. It contains the injectable solution that is delivered subcutaneously with a syringe.

To inject, a patient inserts a syringe through a rubber top of a bottle. Once the needed amount of solution is in a syringe, he or she sterilizes the injection site area, delivers the drug, and throws a needle away.

What Are Cartridges?

Pens are small pen-shaped insulin delivery devices. There are disposable and reusable insulin pens existing on the market, and cartridges are only a part of the device.

Using a dial on a pen’s body, a patient can pre-set the dose of insulin they’ll need to inject. After the solution is delivered, a needle must be replaced with a new one in both reusable and disposable pens.

Q&A: Choosing Insulin Therapy Method

Before opting for either one or the other method of insulin administration, it’s important to receive the answers to some of the most popular questions.

Will Insulin Pen Cost More?

Usually, the average direct cost of one pen is higher than that of one vial. However, if we take annual health care costs into account, it shows that insulin quantity purchased in one year is smaller for pen-users, while the average wasted quantity of insulin stays the same with both vials and pens.

It means that pens are more efficient than traditional insulin vials. In addition, they deliver a more accurate insulin dose.

Are Cartridges Interchangeable?

Unfortunately, unlike syringes, most cartridges aren’t interchangeable. It means that if your pen is broken and you’ve purchased a new one from the other insulin manufacturer, you’ll need to buy new cartridges as well.

For example, if you have a pen device from Lilly, you’ll be able to use only Humalog cartridges with it.

Are Vials Easier to Buy?

While people are generally more used to vials and syringes, meaning that they’re easy to find in drug stores, insulin pens aren’t hard to get at all. Aside from brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the devices can be purchased online as well.

Which Method Is the Best for Beginners?

Insulin pen use is considered friendlier for beginners than the conventional vial/syringe method. Also, it’s more comfortable to carry around a small device in a shape of a pen rather than vials and several syringes. Not to mention that you’re less likely to receive unwanted attention if injecting with a pen instead of a syringe.

To Sum Up

In conclusion, pens are more advanced devices compared to vials and syringes. Their ease of use will help to improve patient adherence, especially in people who are about to start their diabetes treatment for the first time in their life.

In addition, even though pens are more expensive than vials and syringes, they enable more efficient use of insulin. It allows patients to spend no more money than they do on vials, which makes pens a good alternative to consider.