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Smart insulin pen - Jack's review


Jack shares his personal views on the Novo Echo Plus pen which he is prescribed. He is our News Content Producer and podcast host here at Diabetes UK.

"I began using the pen earlier this year following an article I wrote about smart insulin pens, in which I asked two members of the diabetes community for their experiences with the pens and the ways in which they can impact diabetes management. 

Learning about their benefits inspired me to call my GP surgery and ask if I was eligible for an upgrade on my NovoPen4 – and it turns out that I was."


"There are several benefits to using smart insulin pens. 

"The primary benefit for me is the smart pen's capability to automatically record when I've injected insulin, including how much I've injected and at what time of the day. 

This is amazing, frankly." 

"Many of us in our mid-30s age remember writing down insulin doses in journals years ago to bring to your healthcare team. After transitioning from paediatric care to adult care, I stopped using these journals, instead relying on my memory to track my doses.

However, given the amount of injections I and many of us do each day, it might be surprising to learn that you can forget when you last injected and how much you injected. But it happens. And it can you leave feeling anxious, especially having that uncertainty before you go to bed. That’s why being able to see when and what amount of insulin you last injected, all at the click of a button, is a game-changer.

Pen shows 4 units of insulin were taken 13 hours ago

(Pictured, the base of the pen shows four units of insulin were injected 13 hours ago).

And it saves a lot of time as you don't have to manually note your doses or try and remember when you last injected. 

Another benefit is being able to connect the pen to the FreeStyle LibreLink app. After a quick scan of your pen against your smartphone, the app will upload all your doses and position them in your logbook. You can easily browse what time you injected, see what your blood sugar levels were at the time, and how they were impact by the insulin."


"This isn’t exactly a limitation, but any time you perform an air shot prior to an injection (to ensure insulin is coming out of your pen), this small dose will register on both your pen and on the LibreLink app once you’ve uploaded your latest doses. 

This can, on occasion, be slightly confusing, especially if you injected a correction dose of a similarly small amount to the test of an air shot, but eventually I learned on the LibreLink app that the air shot always appears as the top dose in a grouping of doses in your logbook. 

And this is quibbling, but it can be temperamental (at least for me) when scanning the pen against your phone to upload your doses in the app. For three or four times it might fail to scan, but perseverance is key."


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