Nuances of Insulin Pens and How They May Differ

Priming insulin pens prior to use helps ensure the appropriate dose is being administered. Calculating the priming units in your days’ supply is very important. These additional units added for “priming” or “safety checking” the insulin pen and pen needle for each injection, could greatly influence the quantity and days’ supply you are billing.

Most insulin pens require two units per injection to prime; however, there are three products that require more.

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Insulin Priming Units
Toujeo® Solostar® 3 units
Toujeo® Max Solostar® 4 units
Humulin® R U-500 KwikPen 5 units

Another consideration between insulin pens is the number of units the pen can dial. While most pens deliver doses in 1-unit increments, there are four specific insulin products that do not. Be mindful that these products can only deliver doses in discrete intervals and be prepared to clarify instructions for use that cannot be administered.

Insulin Dosing Increments
Humalog® Junior KwikPen® 0.5 units
Humulin® R U-500 KwikPen 5 units
Tresiba® Flextouch® 200 units/mL 2 units
Toujeo® Max Solostar® 2 units

PAAS Tips:

  • Document the number of priming units on the prescription if used in your days’ supply calculation
  • Remember priming units are not applicable with insulin vials
  • Non-insulin pen products that have pre-set dosages (i.e., Ozempic®), do not use priming units

Dana Westberg, CPhT