March 11, 2009

FDA Approves Apidira SoloStar Disposable Pen!

I just read in Diabetes in Control that the FDA has finally approved the disposable Apidra pen.

I've been using Apidra for almost six months and for me it is by far the most phyiological fast acting insulin. Injected at the time I eat, it peaks exactly when my food peaks, and it's gone in about 2 hours. If I eat something that digests slowly, I may split my dose and do another small booster shot at 2 hours.

Until now, Apidra was only available in vials or cartridges that you use with the huge somewhat clumsy OptiClick pen. I like that the Opticlick displays the dose you've injected for a few minutes. But I don't like that if anything goes wrong with the pen you have to get a new one, in my case, from a doctor as the pharmacies don't stock them here, which could leave you high and dry if it broke during a weekend.

This availability in the new disposable pen makes Apidra more competitive with Novolog, too. The pen is the same one used for Lantus--though I never understood why you would need to dispense once a day insulin via pen. Especially since most people using Lantus use large enough doses that they'd go through a pen in a few days.

Unfortunately, the insurers in my region don't cover pens unless you are blind, and my own insurer doesn't cover Apidra at all. But when a new product like this is released, doctors get a lot of free samples, so if nothing else, more people may be trying Apidra and perhaps the drug reps will turn their intensive marketing efforts to getting the insurance company to cover Apidra along with Novolog and Humalog. It doesn't cost any more than they do.

3 comments:

kath8562 said...

Explain please. If you're blind, how are you supposed to set the amount of the dose on the pen?? Count the clicks, perhaps (although, come to think of it....that might work with proper training, wouldn't it?)

Jenny said...

Counting clicks would work. It's very easy to do with a pen. In contrast, it would be impossible to fill a syringe from a vial if you couldn't see the vial markings.

For that matter, if you were elderly and had some vision but of poor quality the vial would be very hard to use.

kindletheflame said...

Explain please. If you're blind, how are you supposed to set the amount of the dose on the pen?? Count the clicks, perhaps (although, come to think of it....that might work with proper training, wouldn't it?)

I am legally blind and although I now use a pump, the pen is the ONLY way I can administer insulin via injection, as I cannot see markings on syringes to be able to measure. The pens are very accessible and easy to use by counting each unit, as all pens click as you dial up the dose. Counting click requires no extra training aside from the training that sighted people get. If you dial up a unit and inject it into the air after you've screwed on a needle, as you're supposed to so you know that insulin is coming out, this can easily be modified by a blind person by positioning your hand so that the insulin hits your palm, thus no need to see it.

I, for one, was grateful when they came out with a Lantus pen here in Canada, as for the previous year I'd relied on my parents to pre-fill syringes (which,a t 20-something, is not cool). I would say ease of portability is probably hwy long-acting insulin pens exist; there are many people, especially those who do two shots a day, who are not always home when they need to do a shot.

Now don't get me started on PUMP accessibility to blind people because that's one thing that is nonexistent and I am advocating strongly for.