Can I draw insulin out of a pen cartridge?

Hi Everyone,

I just was laid off from my job, and am now covered under my boyfriends insurance which only covers up to 80%. I know, I know it’s better than nothing.

I started the pump in November and have about 3-4 boxes of Humalog in the pen needle format. I was just wondering if I could draw the insulin I needed for my pump reservoir from these. Has anyone done this?

Any info or experiences will be appreciated. I just would like to use what I have.


I have recently switch to a pump from MDI and asked my Diabetic educator the same question. Her response was to make sure its sterile and everything, but why not try?

I haven’t done it yet, but should be no problem.

I live in Hungary and here almost everyone uses insulin pens. So I can ONLY get insulin in the pen format and I always use this to fill my pump.

So yes, it is possible. The only difference is that you should NOT inject air into the vial like you would with a normal vial. Just insert the needle of your pump resevoir to top of the insulin vial with the plunger of the reservoir in a position so there is almost no air in the resevoir. As you pull the plunger back, the pressure will draw the insulin into resevoir and the moveable part in the insulin vial will move on its own.

Let me know if this wasn’t clear or if you have more questions!!

I agree with Kristin,

It works fine. I did this when I first went on the pump while using up my reserve of pens. One word of caution, in my experience after drawing out insulin with a needle, the pen no longer functioned as a pen. The mechanism became inoperable every time. Not a big deal, I just always wanted to have a useable pen with me in as a backup in case I had a problem with the pump. I just made sure to always have at least one useable pen in my bag.

God, yes. I do this all the time. One doctor I saw insisted on prescribing me pens, even though I really don’t like them. I often switch them over to the bottles. Besides, when a pen or a bottle is almost empty, I always pull out those last few units and switch them to a fuller bottle. Am I the only one who does that? Looks embarrassed. Never mind…

I do the same thing! Why waste insulin?

I also didn’t like pens. I much prefered injections to pens before starting on the pump!

I drew insulin with a syringe from the cartridge when the needles weren’t working one day at school, so I assume that you can do that with a pump. It is a lot easier to use up what you have- I hate wasting expensive medicine like that.

Thanks a lot guys. I guess my only concern was whether the plunger was going to move on it’s own when drawing from the pen cartridge.

This helps a lot, I now have enough insulin to last me a while. 8)

Just did this today! Thank you Kristin, it worked beautifully :slight_smile: