Insulin, Insulin Pens & Pen Needles

Understanding the range of insulins and the devices that are used for delivering the insulin can be confusing. There are three major suppliers of insulin for people with diabetes in Australia. They are Novo Nordisk, Eli Lily and Sanofi Aventis. Insulins are often known by the speed of their action, e.g. NovoRapid. The speed of onset of the insulin is often referred to as rapid, short, intermediate, long or may be a mixture of two types, e.g. Mixtard 30/70 (30% short acting/70% intermediate). The action of the insulin can be described in an Action Profile, which describes the onset, peak and duration.

This is the action profile of Novo Mix 30

Insulin can be supplied as prefilled pens known as flex pens, pen fill 3ml cartridges, vials and a clock faced delivery device known as an Innolet. The cartridge must be compatible with the insulin pen and most cartridges will not fit the wrong pen. Pens come in different colours which allows a user on more than one insulin to easily select between the pens holding short acting and long acting insulin. Pens normally deliver in 1 unit increments, however ½ unit pens are available.

Novo Nordisk -1800 224 321

Novo Nordisk manufactures three disposable flex pens. These contain one of the insulins NovoRapid, NovoMix 30 & Levemir.

A NovoPen 4 takes 3 ml Penfill cartridges. Cartridges are available for NovoRapid, NovoMix 30, Actrapid, Protophane, Levimir and Mixtard 30/70

Innolet is a clock face delivery device. Insulins available for the Innolet are Protophane & Mixtard 30/70. It may be useful for people with poor eyesight or reduced manual dexterity.

NovoPen Echo is a ½ unit pen and is only available from diabetes educators for free. It has a memory function recording dose and time since last injection. It has replaced the Novo Pen 3 Demi.

Novo Nordisk has 3 different pen needles listed on NDSS. NovoFine Pen needle 8mm (NDSS code 91), NovoFine pen needle 6 mm (NDSS code150) and NovoFine pen needle 4 mm (NDSS code 165)

Delivery devices - pens
Novo Pen Echo
Eli Lily – 1800 454 559

Eli Lily manufactures three pens that take cartridges. They are the HumaPen Luxura, Savvio and Luxura HD. The Luxura and Savio delivers insulin in 1 unit increments up to 60 units. The Luxura HD delivers in ½ unit increments, up to 30 units.

Eli Lily manufactures six different insulins available in cartridges. These are Humalog, Humalog Mix 25, Humalin R, Humalin NPH, Humalin 30/70, and Humalog Mix 50.

Eli Lily also produce a disposable pen called the KwikPen. It is available for Humalog Mix 50, Humalog Mix 25 and Humalog

Sanofi – 1800 818 806

Sanofi manufacture a rapid acting insulin called Apidra and a long acting insulin called Lantus. They are both available in 3 ml cartridges and fit the ClickStar insulin pens. ClickStar pens are available in Silver and Blue

Sanofi also produce the disposable SoloStar pens for use with Lantus & Apidra. Both types of pens can deliver up to 80 units of insulin in 1 unit increments.

Pen Needles on NDSS Note:

All NDSS listed pen needles are compatible with all insulin pens – both disposable and non- disposable. Currently there are six companies listed on NDSS available to supply pen needles – BD, Mylife, NovoFine, Unifine, Insupen & Droplet. Terimo & B-D are listed to supply syringes. Pen needles and syringes are free to people registered on NDSS as insulin dependent or approved for other non-insulin injectables such as Byette

BD – 02 8875 7500

BD have three pen needles available on NDSS. They are the 5mm (NDSS 97), 8mm (NDSS 92) and 12mm (NDSS 87). They also have a shielded pen needle called the AutoShield. It is not available from NDSS but is available from Diabetes NSW & ACT

Mylife – 03 9017 4114

Mylife has three pen needles available on NDSS known as Mylife Clickfine Diamond. They have lengths of 4mm (NDSS 231), 6mm (NDSS 216) and 8mm (NDSS 217)

NovoNordisk – 1800 224 321

NovoNordisk has three pen needles on NDSS called NovoFine.
They are available as NovoFine Pen needle 8mm (NDSS code 91), NovoFine pen needle 6 mm (NDSS code 150) and NovoFine pen needle 4 mm (NDSS code 165). The gauge varies.
Novo Nordisk also has a non NDSS subsidized shielded pen needle called NovoFine Autocover. It is designed to reduce the risk of needle stick injury or help with needle anxiety.

Owen Mumford – distributed by Point of Care Diagnostics Diagnostics – 1800 640 075

Owen Mumford have two types of pen needles known as Unifine Pentips and Unifine Pentips Plus.
Unifine Pens tips are available in four lengths. They are 5mm (NDSS 235), 6mm (NDSS 213), 8mm (NDSS 214) & 12mm (NDSS 215)
The Unifine Pentips Plus has an integrated needle remover chamber.
The Unifine Pentips Plus are available in 5mm (NDSS 298), 6mm (NDSS 296), 8mm (NDSS 294) & 12mm (NDSS 290)

Insupen Pen Needles – Spirit Healthcare – 1800 781 018

The Insupen pen needles are available in lengths from 4 mm to 12 mm gauges 29, 31, 32 & 33.

These are 4mm, 33g (NDSS 264), 4mm 32 g (NDSS 262), 6mm 32g (NDSS 260), 6mm 31 g (NDSS 254), 6mm 32g (NDSS 258), 8mm 31g (NDSS 252), & 12mm 29g (NDSS 250)

Droplet Pen Needles – Metier Medical – 02 4909 8038

The Droplet Pen Needles are available in lengths from 4 mm to 12 mm and gauges 29 to 32

4 mm 32g (NDSS 286), 5 mm 31g (NDSS 278), 5 mm 32g (NDSS 284), 6 mm 31g (NDSS 276), 6 mm 32g (NDSS 282), 8 mm 31g (NDSS 274), 8 mm 32g (NDSS 280), 10 mm 29g (NDSS 272) & 12mm 29g (NDSS 270)


There are two brands of syringe listed on NDSS – Terumo & BD

Terumo Australia – 02 9878 5122

Terumo Australia have two syringes listed on NDSS. They are 0.5mL * 13 ml (NDSS 76), & 1.0mL * 13ml

BD – 02 8875 7500

B-D have two types of syringes. B-D Ultra-Fine are 12.7mm in length and are available in 0.3mL (NDSS 88), 0.5mL (NDSS 89) & 1.0mL (NDSS 90). B-D Ultra-Fine II are 8mm in length and come in 0.3mL (NDSS 201), 0.5mL (NDSS 202), 1.0mL (NDSS 203)