I’ve been filling my own pens for a while.
- Not all the disposable pens are refillable
- Re-filling from a vial is cheaper than buying disposable pens.
- You can fill them with any amount you want. Rather than having 300 ml sitting outside for months (that’s how long it would take me to get through some of the basal ones), or always having to go into the refrigerator to get one out, I can just fill it with a week’s supply at a time. Only one week’s worth stays outside, the rest of it stays in the fridge.
- Not all pens give you the half-unit dosing. So I made all of mine with these 1/2 unit pens.
- Sometimes the disposable ones you get are defective and you have to toss them, wasting insulin.
- Various insulins come in different pens. They come in various lengths and sizes, and it is not as easy to carry and store several different types from various pharmaceutical companies.
- Using the same type of pen means that they are interchangeable. If I have a pen that goes bad, I can simply swap a cartridge from one to the other. Using all the same type is like having a bunch of spare pens.
So I use the Lilly Luxura HD pen for everything. I can get them for very cheap at https://www.canadadrugs.com (only about $10 each). They are well made, durable, have 1/2 unit doses, and are easy to refill. Here is how to fill them with whatever you want.
This may look complicated, but it is not. You only have to empty out the cartridge once, and flush it with saline. After that, as long as you are refilling with the same type of insulin, you don’t have to do that anymore. It is just a matter of refilling it, which is very easy.
I start with a sterile surgical drape on the table, because I am not an animal.
Here is the stuff I use to do this. Some syringes, the cartridges for the Luxura pen, vials of insulin, and saline to rinse out the cartridges:
Clear out the original cartridge that you are using. In my case, I am using the Lilly pen and the Lilly Humalog cartridges. You push out the end stopper by using a syringe and injecting with air until it pops out. Then you rinse with sterile saline to remove the insulin that was once in there…
Put the rubber stopper back in. To maintain sterility, it is best to not touch it with your fingers, but use either sterile gloves or an alcohol swab.
Label it so you know what is in there! Then you fill it with insulin from a vial, using a syringe, and also remove the air using a syringe. Not hard. Really is super easy to do.
Make sure you label not only the cartridge, but also the pen.
That’s all there is to it. Now you have refillable pens, filled with whatever insulin you want.