Posted by on Thursday 14 August 2014

Half unit Lantus insulin pen free on prescription - at last!

About bloomin time!

I had heard about this some months ago, but then promptly forgot about it.

In April 2014 Sanofi launched the JuniorStar, a 1-30u insulin pen that can be used with Lantus (glargine) insulin and delivers doses in 0.5u increments. Woooo hooooo!

During my least years on MDI, wrestling Lantus into submission was more or less a full-time hobby. My basal requirement changes frequently in response to a wide range of factors (differences in general activity levels, warmer/cooler weather, or more frequently... just because it feels like it). On pump these tweaks are easier to manange, but more than once on Lantus I would seem to find myself in a position where a change of a whole unit up or down was just a bit too much, and I would have to settle for a Hobson's choice dose. It was particularly frustrating because of the 'some units are more equal than others' weirdness that I frequently see when my basal insulin dose is just a little bit out. A unit too much or too little of Lantus over 24 hours could leave me scoffing a massive stack of carbs to stave off relentless lows, or chasing high BGs with units and units of extra rapid-acting insulin corrections.

Diabetes is biology, not maths - and we can't always expect the numbers involved to behave in a predictable, logical way. This will be news to none of you.

So HURRAH to the fine French pharma folks for finally stepping up to the plate and launching a 0.5u pen. Mysteriously though Sanofi are yet another pharma company to market a half unit pen with a 'Junior' mindset (NovoNordisk did the same with the NovoPen Echo). It is as if only children could possibly find a use for half-unit increments. I can only hope that adult patients will not have difficulty* in accessing this potentially very useful addition to their Diabetes Gubbins stockpile.

EDIT: *Due to the ridiculous immediacy of the flow of information in the Twit-o-sphere, having posted this just a few minutes ago someone has already pointed out that the JuniorStar can be obtained directly from Sanofi, without the need to jump through tortuous prescription hoops and bothering your surgery/clinic. Simply contact the Sanofi helpline. Thanks to @davidcragg for the tip :)

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