The Solostar Lantus pen is an insulin administering device that, depending on you or your child's diabetes treatment plan, can save money and give you more comfort that the correct dose of insulin is injected. But like most supplies needed for the care of Type 1 Diabetes, the Lantus pen is not perfect. Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that will turn your life upside down overnight, as my family has discovered. Learning how to care for a diabetic is confusing and overwhelming at first. While you never have complete control over the sickness, life does get easier, and one of those ways is with a diabetes pen. My family has tried the Novopen Junior and the Solostar Lantus pen, with varying levels of success.
So What is the Solostar Lantus Pen?
The Solostar Lantus pen is an alternate way for a Type 1 diabetic to inject insulin into their bodies. The traditional administration method is through a vial of insulin and insulin syringes. A diabetic pen has a thin vial of insulin--called a cartridge--that fits in a pen-like device. The pen has a dial that shows the exact number of units that will be inserted into the body. In the case of the Solostar Lantus pen, each cartridge is 3 mL, or 300 units. Also, unlike the Novopen Junior, the Solostar Lantus pen is dispensed from the pharmacy with the cartridge already included in the pen.
A diabetes pen is designed to utilize separate pen needles, which are small needles that screw on the end of the pen. This needle is inserted into the skin just like a syringe, and a button on the other end of the Lantus pen is depressed for the insulin to be administered.
Positives of the Solostar Lantus Pen
The Solostar Lantus pen has definite advantages.
- Reduced Cost - This is the major reason most people would consider a switch to the Solostar pen. The Lantus pen is sold in packs of 5, meaning you get 1,500 units per prescription. Just like regular vials of Lantus, you must discard an "open" pen after 1 month of use, which means that if your child uses less than 300 units of Lantus per month, you can get 5 months of Lantus for 1 copay. This was a big money-saver for my family since we previously were getting 2 months of supply for 1 copay. We basically reduced our Lantus cost by 2.5 times. Of course, these savings will vary based on current usage, but for smaller children especially, the Lantus pen will save you considerable cash.
- Simple Storage - This Solostar pen takes up more space than a simple vial of insulin, but when you combine the space saved by using pen needles instead of syringes you might find that it is easier to store the Lantus pen.
- Dial-Up Dosage - There is always a dosage concern when using syringes to give insulin shots. Did I give too much? Too little? Was that air bubble small enough to be deemed insignificant? With a diabetes pen you simply dial up the desired dosage and the instrument automatically measures out the amount of insulin to be given.
Negatives of Solostar Lantus Pen
As mentioned, not every diabetes treatment instrument is perfect, and that includes the Solostar pen. Here are some downsides that we have discovered.
- Pen Must be Held in Place for Several Seconds - Unlike syringes, which can be depressed and removed, a diabetes pen must be held in the skin for about 10 seconds before you can be certain that all of the insulin has made its way into the body.
- Solostar Continues to Leak After Removal - This isn't something that is unique to just the Solostar Lantus pen. The Novopen Junior does the same thing. Even after having the pen in the skin for a count of 10, Lantus oozes out. While it may not be a significant amount, the question remains if your son or daughter is receiving the correct dosage.
- The Lantus Pen is Bulky - The Solostar Lantus pen is bulky, and it can be difficult to discreetly use it in public settings. This might not be a big deal to some people, but for people who do not like to be seen taking shots, this could be embarrassing. But since Lantus is only given once a day, this may not matter. The bulkiness also can make it a little awkward for parents to give, especially to squirmy little ones.
One of the ways my wife and I have mitigated the impact of having to leave a leaky Lantus pen in the body for 10 seconds is to use syringes to give my son his shot. We still get the copay advantage, but we do not have to worry whether or not the leaking Lantus is going to leave our son short of his dosage.
It Usually Never Hurts To Try New Diabetes Supplies
Hopefully your family has an endocrinologist and diabetes nurse educators that you trust. If that is the case, I would recommend trying out the Solostar Lantus pen if it is suggested to you. As new technology is brought to the market, there will always be new and improved ways to fight Type 1 Diabetes. The diabetes pen is one of those ways currently available. It is important to remember, though, that the Lantus pen is not perfect and does have its flaws. You might find that you enjoy using the pen and cartridges, but you may find that it is simply not for you. If that is the case, then you can always switch back to another way with which you are more comfortable.
When it comes to Type 1 Diabetes, there is no easy solution. What starts out as a bizarre set of symptoms changes your life in an instant. One of those changes is that you will soon be on the lookout for new and improved ways to fight the disease. You might like it, you might not, but the Solostar Lantus pen is worth a try.