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kirkulese21

Lost Insulin Pen Cartridges While Traveling in Eastern Europe

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kirkulese21

I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic about seven days ago. I'd already booked tickets, hotels and paid for a car rental to travel around Eastern Europe for three weeks. My doctor told me that I could still make the trip as long as I remembered to take my medicine, began exercising, ate healthily and kept my insulin pens cool. 

 

I'm on day two of the trip and I've done everything as ordered. Except I've already lost my extra cartridges for the insulin pen. The pharmacies I've visited sell mostly vitamins and skin cleansing products. They definitely don't sell insulin. The one person who did more than shoo me out the store explained that diabetics don't go to pharmacies in Prague. 

 

I've located an Endocrinologist but can't see her until Monday.   I've checked online, but can't really find out whether I can keep using the old cartridge. I was told that the needle gets duller but will still deliver the correct dose, although it will be painful. I can deal with the pain until Monday, but I'm wondering whether anyone has more information about this. I plan on using the same cartridge again tonight and possibly through the weekend.

 

I have a: 

Tresiba 100 units/mL Pre-filled Pen (FlexTouch)

Thanks for any input.

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OneEye

Your glucose meter will tell you the efficacy of what's left in your pen as you still use it. Monday should get you a fresh script. Bring any paperwork you have and your doctor's number so that they can verify your need for more insulin.

 

If...you don't get a new script I suggest you divide the number of days you're going to be abroad into the number of units you have left and stay away from as many carbs as possible.

 

Good luck and try not to stress. Enjoy yourself while you're there...it'll keep your BG numbers down.

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Hammer

Did any of the pharmacies you went to, tell you where you can get more insulin pens?  I would think that they should know since they are a pharmacy.  If not, is there a hospital nearby that you can go to to ask about the insulin pens?  There are diabetics in Prague, so diabetics have to get their insulin from somewhere.

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kirkulese21

Thanks. I've got the the name of a good doctor and can see her on Monday. The pen is fine, it's just the cartridges that have new needles that got lost on the way from Vienna to Prague. My doctor told me to change the cartridges after every five uses or when it became painful. Luckily for me, there was a diabetic in the third pharmacy I visited. He told me that the needle in the cartridge would continue to deliver insulin as long as I didn't break it and that the pain I was warned of by my doctor would be a result of the needle becoming duller with each repeated use. He said that I should be able to get quite a few more uses out of it, but that I must be careful to clean it with alcohol and soak the cap that covers it as well. 

 

Every web search I did just sent me to lists and lists of how to inject properly. 

 

Thanks for the advice OneEye and Hammer and I'm glad to know this forum exists. You realize you guys might be related? Odin and Thor of all things. I hope that doesn't make me Loki.

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MJB

I'm not sure what you mean by "cartridges". My Tresiba comes in a pre-filled pen and separate needles. I change the needle after each use (it screws onto the pen). 

 

The needles I use (BD) are available on amazon, I only need a script for the insulin filled pens.

 

https://www.bd.com/en-us/offerings/capabilities/diabetes-care/pen-needles/bd-nano-4mm-pen-needle

Edited by MJB
added link

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kirkulese21

Thanks. One of the sites I looked at referred to the separate needles as cartridges. I'm basically down to one of those. I was told by a doctor here in prague that as long as i soaked the needle i have in alcohol (ethanol (medical alcohol) 70%, isopropyl alcohol 70%, or hydrogen peroxide 6%.) for 20 minutes to sterilize it, I can continue to reuse the same needle for the duration of my trip. I have the hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, I don't have the device to twist the needle off, so I've rigged up a way to soak the needle as well as the tip of the pin without bending or breaking the needle. The doctor said that the needle will get duller with each use, but as long as I prime it before use and do my settings correctly, I will get the prescribed dose. His greatest caution was to neither bend nor break the needle. It will get a little painful, but it shouldn't interfere with the medicine itself.

 

Thanks for your help.

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Hammer

Okay, now I understand.  It's the needle tips that screw on to the pens that you were in need of.  I don't know how it is in Prague, but here in my state, you don't need a prescription to buy those needle tips, you can just go into a pharmacy and buy them over the counter.  I'm surprised that the pharmacies in Prague don't carry them.  You would think that the pharmacies sell the insulin pens, so why would they not sell the tips for the pens?  Anyway, good luck with the tip you are now using, and I hope that it lasts for as long as you need it.

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Tanikit

You can reuse those needles many times - maybe I have a lower threshold to pain, but I have reused a lot of insulin supplies way longer than would usually be advisable and never got an infection despite not using alcohol swabs either and while they got a bit blunt it wasn't the end of the world. What gauge are the needles? The very thin needles have a tendency to bend so you have to be careful with those. Next time you travel remember to put all diabetes supplies in your carry-on (type 1s are taught to do this because our life depends on it). Enjoy your holiday :)

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TX_Clint

I use the same needle over and over. I only replace the needle when I replace the pen. New pen, new needle and I've never ever had one get dull at all and have never ever had any reaction from using the same needle repeatedly. 1 pen, 1 needle. 

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