A person with type 1 diabetes is unable to produce insulin because of the auto-immune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Now that might sound like too much medical jargon, but it only means that I don’t have any insulin in my body! 😉
So, to keep the insulin levels in the right proportion in my tiny body, I need to take insulin injections, which are also very tiny. (you’ll see :P)
This is a detailed article about Humalog Lispro (insulin) and HumaPen Ergo II (insulin delivery device/pen) which I have been using 3 times in a day since past 13 years. Both of them are products by Eli Lilly, a pharma brand.
- Humalog Lispro is a fast-acting insulin meaning that it starts working immediately after administration. Since it works rapidly, it is advisable to eat food immediately after taking the insulin so that one doesn’t fall into a hypo (low sugar level).
- It is also a short-acting insulin so the effect remains upto 3-4 hours post administration. Thus, this insulin is taken after every 4-5 hour gap in the day. For me, it is everytime before meal (Breakfast 10 AM – Lunch 3 PM – Dinner 8 PM)
Packaging & Pricing: Insulin comes in two types of packaging, catridge and vial. I use an insulin pen, therefore I buy the catridge pack. They come as individual cartrige or set of 5. One catridge has 3ml or 300 units of insulin. I usually buy the set as it costs lesser and I always need another one soon as 1 cartridge lasts about 10-15 days for me. 1 packet of 5 costs Rs. 2320.
Storing: I store them in the fridge door. The one that stays in the pen always stays at room temperature and NOT in the fridge. Whenever I need to put a new cartridge in the pen, I take the cartridge out half an hour before so that the temperature matches room temperature.
Buying: While buying, I always check the expiry date and make sure I am buying the right solution of Humalog. It comes in a lot of other variations like Humalog Mix 50/50 or 75/25 etc. I always ask for an ice pack to keep the Lispro cold if I can’t keep it in the fridge in time.
HumaPen Ergo II
Description: I use the HumaPen Ergo II to inject the insulin. It is mostly the length of a pencil, only fatter :P.
Packaging & Pricing: The packaging can be seen in pictures below. It costs Rs. 600.
Longevity: Since it’s a mechanical device, there’s no expiry date as such on the packaging. But for me, this is the third pen since 13 years. I bought my last pen in 2012 and is running smooth. I stopped using the first two pens when the dose knob and dial started to wear off and became very loose. The second pen still works though and I keep it in my travel handbag for emergencies.
Parts: It consists of a case with the pen inside. The catridge and needles (green ones) are not included in the box and have to be bought separately. The pen mostly works like a mechanical pencil. It has a cartridge holder and a dose knob with injection button. A detailed working can be seen here.
The case consists of a separate slot for an extra cartridge. I really like that as one can keep an extra while travelling. (Though I keep another one in my bag, because what if the cartridge falls and breaks by chance? I don’t like starving myself ever :P)
Other requirements: In order to administer the insulin, there’s a need of a new BD needle (BD is the brand, short for Becton, Dickinson and Company) and a swab (cotton+spirit).
I’ll do a separate post about the BD needles and swabs. To know what I do when I forget taking my insulin, check my previous post here.
Lastly, that’s me taking 7 units of Humalog Lispro before today’s lunch. 😀
This article is not a substitute for medical advice but only my way of doing it.