Posted by on Tuesday 21 February 2012

NovoPen Echo launches in the UK

Great news for forgetful diabetics in the UK...

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.


  1. My clinic are only giving these out to children, what with them being a half-unit pen. I'd need to ask my GP to prescribe it if I want one. Ach well!

  2. I would Lynne - I never understood why the Echo was initially framed as a product for children (unless they are trying to restrict how many they give out). Half units are just as useful for many T1 adults as they are for children - 1u represents approx 25% of my usual breakfast dose!

  3. I really cannot understand why they think adults wouldn't need half units for starters (when they fully accept we take minute doses when pumping) and then think our memories are any better than kids'!

  4. my memory is shot to pieces like the rest of D sufferers...where/how can I get one of these

  5. You should ask your DSN/GP to prescribe one. Although they are primarily aimed at children so you may need to explain why half units and the dose memory would be valuable for you.

  6. I'm very much liking the Timesulin caps but a dose reminder would be even better! Would save a lot of hypo's for us adults as well as children :)

  7. Hi Mike,

    I have been madly researching blogs on diabetes in recent weeks for content that could be shared on a site I am working on. It is aimed at recognising improvements and innovations in care both across the therapy area.

    It's called Quality in Care Connect (it goes live next week at the Diabetes UK conference) and carries case studies of winning work entered into the inaugural Quality in Care Diabetes initiative in 2011

    I do hope this is of interest to you and your loyal readers, and am happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Many thanks, Clare

  8. Thanks Clare. Look forward to learning more about the projects that were awarded for excellence in diabetes care last year when QiC Connect goes live. May well write a blog post about it once it has launched :)

  9. That's great Mike – thanks!

    I'll be in touch with more next week…

  10. Happy to DM you an email address on Twitter @everydayupsdwns :)

  11. Twitter is having a bit of a wobble with DM as you aren't following me @CxHealth!

  12. Do you know how to get hold of one of these pens from the NHS?

    When I check on the BNF website, it does not list the NovoPen Echo (only Novopen Junior, Novopen Demi and the other NovoPen).

    I was under the impression that GPs can only prescribe items that are in the BNF.

  13. Hi Owetta - Not sure why it isn't listed in the BNF, and I don't know the PIP code, but I am in contact with a fair few people on various diabetes forums who have managed to get one prescribed by their GP and/or DSN. Perhaps a local pharmacy could help with the relevant codes if your GP is a little reluctant to look them up?

  14. NovoPen ®             

    NovoPen® 4 Silver
    NovoPen® 4 Blue
    NovoPen Echo® Blue
    NovoPen Echo® Red
    NovoPen® Demi
    NovoPen® Junior Green
    NovoPen® Junior Yellow
    NovoPen® 3 PenMate®

    PIP Code®


  15. I have just laid my hands on a Novopen Echo! Only goes up to 30 units in one dose

  16. Possibly to do with it initially being intended for children? Having said that I never gave single doses much over 10u when on MDI as large single doses didn't seem to work well. I suppose half units are more relevant to smaller doses too. Shame there is no dose memory pen in production for those who need larger amounts though.

  17. Novopen Echo never has been and possibly never will be available in USA, I asked novonordisk.

  18. Thanks for the clarification Anon! I really have no idea where I got the idea it had launched in the US, but I don't seem to be able to find it on the NovoNordisk site today! I hope they do release it in the US - I'm sure there are many people there who would value it.

  19. I am so glad all these new BRILLIANT life changing products are coming out for children, and so they should be, im all for it being diagnosed T1 for almost 18 years I know how hard being a child diabetic was, but why (at least in my post code)is it that kids are the only ones who are getting the choices, insulin pumps :-( novopen echo, I often go in to autopilot with my injections, more often than not, I will reilise im holding my injection in my hand and have to ask my husband or kids if they had seen me take it, im not overly forgetful normally, but being an old hand at injecting and also the regularity with doing it, 4 times a day you really do go into autopilot, I just don't know why they havent set these out for all who need them I don't even know why it didnt dawn on me that this could be a viable answer.. I only found out about this product by chance (well the novopen 5, gutted), I have had the same pens for 10 years and I only just found out you should change your pen every 5 years !! I was never told. Having our NHS is such a blessing and I really appreciate it but some times it misses the mark when one town/Area/age are aloud a product surely we all should be aloud, its just the unfairness of it that slightly annoys me :-(

  20. Only just bumbled and found myself on your blog!phew it's so nice to know I'm not alone being a forgetful diabetic!I know how Kate feels.I have been ticking off my doses of insulin in my diary,just to try and make sure I've given myself the insulin.
    And I certainly didn't know you have to change them every five years!I've had mine for eleven years! Must be museum pieces by now.I am seeing my diabetic nurse next week and I will ask to upgrade.

  21. Hi Guys the NovoPen 5 is pretty much the same as the echo but dials up in 1 unit increments