Better modern insulin pen color codes?

I realized how bad mine was when 3 and 4 year old kids pointed out my mistakes when playing Candyland and other games. Especially in low lighting.

They should have Braille markings, as well, to take this idea to the full extent.


I’m back on syringes, I’ve never liked that they don’t give an accurate dose. I have to dilute all my insulin anyway. I have fiasp diluted to 1/3 of a unit and 1/4 of a unit, I put stickers on the diluted bottles telling of their concentration. I do carry a pen in my pocket when leaving the house on the off chance I may need it. Your right that those colors are dangerous.

I used to have my Lantus in a vial and my Humalog in a pen. The endo asked me why wasn’t I using pens for Lantus and I told her that keeping them different made sure I would never mix them up. It worked of course.

I know some people that have mixed up some big doses, I think it’s pretty common unfortunately.

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I keep my Tresiba in the drawer by the refrigerator and my Novolog in the drawer across the room. This works for me.

And my Novolog 1/2 unit pen is a solid bright red. It uses cartridges.

I use trulicity and tresiba I keep them in different places in the fridge. Plus the pen I am using,I keep in my insulin kit. Nancy50

I was going to make the same point, both about colour (or any visual indicator) not being the only distinguishing factor and about tactile indicators being a helpful way to distinguish things. I’m legally blind, so I actually depend on tactile more than visual. I find pens of different brands easy to tell apart actually. But pens of the same brands are identical (with the exception of Sanofi, who do include tactile markers on their reusable pens).

Ideally, pens in the same brand would have both obvious visual and tactile features that distinguish them. But I think pens of different brands may be more difficult since the companies probably aren’t communicating during product design.

It’s not braille, but the Sanofi reusable pens have good tactile markings on the end of the plunger to differentiate the blue and silver pens. But they are the only pens with tactile markings I’ve come across. The NovoPens I’m using now are totally identical except for colour (and the fact that one pen doses half units and the other pen doses whole units).

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Tresiba and novolog are made by same mfg and they’re easy to tell apart by feel. I can see well but I work in total darkness much of the time and have no trouble

Is that just because you have a Timsulin cap on one? Or are there tactile features that make the FlexTouch pens distinguishable from one another?

I’m on a pump break right now using Fiasp and Levemir and because I’m using the reusable pens, both the cartridges and pens are indistinguishable from one another without relying on colour, unless I were to add my own tactile markings or other distinct feature to one of them.

The Sanofi pens I mentioned above are distinct right out of the box, no need to add anything extra. Of course, the cartridges that go in them are not distinct, which might be problematic for someone who’s visually impaired.

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No even without the cap they’re completely different… the tresiba is bigger in diameter and the plunger doesn’t extend out from the pen when you dial it up… the novolog pen is much narrower and the plunger mechanism is totally different

Also novolog has two raised stripes on plunger button and tresiba is smooth…

Can you see enough to make out a picture at all?.

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Interesting…I think we must have different pens here. Both Tresiba and NovoRapid are only available in FlexTouch pens which, at least in pictures, look identical. When I search Google for “Novolog” pens (I think the US is the only country to call NovoRapid “Novolog”), it does come up with an different-looking pen (FlexPen)…

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Thats too bad… I like the flextouch for basal but i count the clicks both while dialing it up and pushing it in with bolus for a double check, which wouldn’t be possible with the flextouch (or humalog) design… I would not be pleased if my novolog was in a flextouch pen

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Yeah, that’s one of the things I hated about the FlexTouch pen. I prefer the reusable pens (NovoPen 5 and NovoPen Echo) so much better to anything disposable. You can get different skins for the reusable pens, and it would be nice if they made those skins with different textures as well as different patterns…

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Funny story… when we were just talking about the pen needle differences I was playing with them in my hand trying to describe them to you… I dialed up like 40ish units on the tresiba and forgot all about it—- which wasn’t obvious because the plunger doesn’t protrude.

Just now I went to take my basal and did the “1 unit” priming shot… except it was actually 41 units this time all over the floor. Thankfully i was able to halt it before it dumped the whole load and wasted it all

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I can see just fine. I also agree they have slightly different widths and different plunger mechanisms.

But I did made the mistake of using one instead of the other, and only after that did I realize that they just look too much like each other.

I contrast with me using insulin in vials for nearly 40 years. Regular was clear, NPH was cloudy. That was always easy for me to tell the difference even though the vials were the same color. Then it was Humalog and Lantus. Different color schemes AND different bottle shapes/dimensions.

The new red stripe and bright red button on the Fiasp that ChrisP showed, that’s a good start. It’s not just a color, but a contrasting color stripe.

The Tresiba pen has really good distinct tactile and audible feedback, both dialing in and shooting up. When the whole dose is delivered there’s a final click that is very different than the previous clicks. I like it.

The Humalog Kwikpen sorta has some of the same clicks when dialing in but they sound and feel mushier. And it lacks the distinct final click when delivery is done.

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Yeah both true… what I don’t like about the tresiba is you can’t count the clicks on the injection because it’s spring loaded… it’s all just a blur… and a lot of times it sounds like there’s only maybe 5-6 clicks even though you’re injecting way more units than that before you hear the final more distinct click. (I assume some of the teeth in the ratchet mechanism get skipped under the spring pressure—- which wouldn’t affect the dose amount just the audible sound… that would make me uncomfortable if it was bolus

I had a bunch of novolog pens that got soaking wet… I guess they must have some sort of powder or water soluble lubricant inside because they still worked after that but the injection wasn’t smooth… I’d have to push really hard and then it’d dump very quickly all at once when my thumb finally overpowered the sticky mechanism… that’s kinda similar to why I think a flextouch pen would bother me if used for bolus. It drove me crazy

My CDE had the most useless tips on how to avoid mixing up insulins. “Place the pens in different locations”, she suggested, “put an elastic around the basal one”, or “make a point to pay attention”, definitely my favourite one :unamused:. Obviously, she did not have diabetes. The problem with insulin therapy is that we do it while also living our life, with distractions and events that break our routines. There is a need for a universal distinction between basal and bolus insulins across the board. Not just in terms of colour but in sound of clicks and/or feel of the delivery device. I used to use Lantus and Humalog in Canada in prefilled pens and their similarity in colour, clicks and feel was striking even though separate manufacturers made them. Refillable pens help in as much as they allow for colour choice but not all insulins are available in penfill cartridges. I ultimately switched to Levemir cartridges to fit a refillable pen with memory and I chose a loud red colour for my basal. I also split up my dose so that the units would be potentially easily matched with carbs in the event of a mix up.

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So true! This just happened tonight.

I was out of my element and needed to change my pod. I put the insulin in the pod, took the needle cap off, took the tape off, applied the pod, and then stopped. I looked at the PDM, at the empty pod packaging, and realized I had forgotten to prime the pod!

It ended up working. It primed while it was on me and then I just proceeded with all of the prompts. So far, so good. But, wow, how easy - after six plus years of podding - I forgot to prime it before applying it, all because I was out of my element!

Here’s hoping Dex doesn’t wake me tonight because I’m high!


Same here, when I was on MDI. Because…

For instance me, once, and that was one time too many.

The other issue for me was that the Lantus pens were more expensive, and whereas a pen is vastly more convenient to carry around for bolusing throughout the day, that’s not an issue for once-a-day Lantus. So a fter getting them confused I went back to vial-and-syringe for Lantus.