Tuesday, 21 February 2012 | by Mike K
Long-term readers (bless you, how ever have you managed it?) may recall that a couple of years ago I actually changed insulins (from NovoRapid to Humalog) because I was so fed up of my not being able to remember whether or not I had actually taken my mealtime insulin and/or which of the possible dose configurations I had finally settled on. At the time the only injection pen available in the UK which recorded doses was the Humapen Memoir. Had I lived in a different part of the world, there would have been no need to change insulins. The NovoPen Echo, which records doses and provides half units was already available at that time in the US. But not here. Cue general grumblings, outrage and sighing-and-rolling-of-eyes from a handful of discontented UK diabetics. Some even going so far as to launch that most effective of lobbying methods, a Facebook campaign-and-moan page.
Not without a whiff of irony, when I changed to a pump my DSN was a little wary of Humalog's reputation for crystallising in tubing so changed me back onto NovoRapid. It did strike me as very odd though that NovoNordisk would happily wave goodbye to any user of their insulin who wanted a pen with a memory in the UK, even though they had such a device available.
In the meantime Timesulin (a replacement cap which lets you know how long it was since your pen was last used) has launched and gone on sale in the UK. This tackles the main nagging worry of 'Erm... does anyone know if I jabbed before lunch?' and is compatible with a whole bunch of pens. Sadly though it can't track doses.
Well the wheels have turned. The Memoir pen has been taken out of circulation while Eli Lilly try to fix some battery problems and make other improvements. But it seems NovoNordisk have either a) come to their senses or b) jumped through whatever compliance hoops they needed to, because according to Kasper Kofod (Social Media Project Manager at Novo Nordisk A/S) the NovoPen Echo launched in the UK a week or two ago and is available from your local friendly DSN.
Update/clarification: Initially the Echo was said to be available only for children. However I now understand that the NovoPen Echo is available to patients of any age. The NovoPen 5 (currently not available in the UK) which has the dose memory, a larger max dose but lacks the half unit may be released in the UK at some point in the future.