Eli Lilly has come up with a new insulin pen with a digital display that allows patients to record and review the time, date and dose of the last 16 insulin shots.
HumaPen Memoir is intended for use with Lilly's Humalog (insulin lispro injection [rDNA origin]), for diabetes sufferers who need to repeatedly administer mealtime doses of insulin.
The dosage record and review function is intended to aid patient compliance and provide accurate information for both patients and physicians developing an appropriate diabetes treatment plan.
The pen has been designed to resemble a writing pen rather than a medical instrument, says the company, so as to make insulin administration in public more discreet than the traditional vial and syringe.
In a clinical trial of experienced insulin pen users, 81 per cent of patients preferred the Memoir device over the pen they were previously using, say the company.
The new pen is currently available by prescription in the US and costs $100 (€76), though the company is offering some patients coupons which reduce the price to $45.
"Memoir will last three years, so this is a relatively low cost over the course of time – less than $3 per month if patients paid the list price, and just $1.25 per month if they pay the coupon price," Scott Macgregor of Eli Lilly told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.
The Memoir pen is reusable, with the internal (non-replaceable) battery lasting three years, and comes with a two-year warranty from the company. Patients will still need to purchase new insulin cartridges every month as they would with new vials or pre-filled pens, with the cost of cartridges for the new pen comparable to those for Lilly's pre-filled pen.
"Memoir has sophisticated electronics, but is easy to use for experienced pen users," said Macgregor.
"When someone needs to inject Humalog at mealtimes, they simply pull out Memoir from its case, turn on the display with the touch of a button, "prime" the pen by dialling up two units and injecting into the air (as with insulin pens across the board), after priming dial the number of units of Humalog they need to take, and inject."
The memory feature is also called up by the touch of a button, allowing patients to review the amount, time and date of the past 16 insulin doses, including the priming doses.
Memoir was first available in Finland and the Netherlands, and was then launched in the US this month as its first major pharmaceutical market. The company are currently "evaluating scenarios for launching in other countries in the future," said Macgregor.
Eli Lilly has also announced a second insulin pen product, due to be launched in April 2007. The Luxura HD pen, also for use with Lilly's Humalog, can deliver insulin in smaller doses with 1-30 units of insulin deliverable in half-unit increments after the first unit.
The Luxura HD device is also reusable, but does not have a battery, and will also require cartridges. Pricing for the Luxura HD device has not yet been determined, but the company foresee the pen being attractive to patients requiring lower doses of insulin, or parents of children with diabetes.
"We're not discussing specific plans for Luxura HD at this time," said Macgregor, "but we do hope to introduce it to patients broadly at the appropriate time. Luxura HD is a cousin of a Lilly pen currently on the market in some European countries, simply called Luxura."
Eli Lilly is also in the process of developing an inhaled insulin product with Alkermes, known as the AIR Insulin System. The product is currently in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of Type I and Type II diabetes, and is anticipated to reach the market by 2010 along with other inhalable insulin products from Novo Nordisk/Aradigm and Mannkind.