Of the 4.5 million people with diabetes in Italy, around 26% take insulin alone or in combination with other drugs, according to data from the Arno Diabetes Report, but despite the availability of latest generation insulins, 80% of patients does not reach the glycemic target necessary to avoid complications, often due to dosing errors and forgetting to administer the drug. For these patients, Novo Nordisk has developed two reusable and refillable smart pens, NovoPen* 6 and NovoPen Echo* Plus, to manage the disease by administering and monitoring therapy. This was announced by Novo Nordisk.
“Appropriate and ‘reasoned’ insulin therapy is still essential today for a part of the population with diabetes – says Paolo Di Bartolo, director of the Ravenna Diabetology Unit, president of the Amd Foundation – This therapeutic approach is a fundamental part of the treatment path made available for these patients, whose aim is to prevent the risk of developing chronic complications that could compromise the quality and ‘quantity’ of life of our patients. For some of our patients, not infrequently, there are delays in starting insulin therapy, a real inertia, and this is due both to fear and distrust on the part of patients, more than understandable given the important commitment required up to now to insulin-treated patients, and in the lack of resources and time of diabetes patients for effective education in self-management of insulin therapy. Smart pens and Apps dedicated to guiding the patient to identify the right dose of insulin, always supported by adequate therapeutic education, continuous glucose monitoring, turn out to be a great opportunity for insulin-treated people with diabetes”.
Glycemic control requires a “continuous evaluation of the methods of administering insulin, for which patients must carry out frequent and precise measurements – underlines Paolo Fiorina, full professor of endocrinology, director of Ssd Diabetologia Asst Fatebenefratelli Sacco – This can prove to be very burdensome for patients, given that we are dealing with several daily administrations and it often happens that they forget or, noting the data by hand, they do it in an inaccurate and imprecise way, thus making them unusable for the doctor. Reliable data on each individual administration, in parallel with blood glucose monitoring data and eating habits, allow the diabetologist to personalize and adapt the therapy and thus prevent the complications of the disease”.
Novo Nordisk today presents the two reusable and rechargeable smart pens, NovoPen* 6 and NovoPen Echo* Plus – reports a note – which will allow people with diabetes to manage glycemic control and therefore the disease. Through the two devices, every time the patient makes an injection, information will be detected and memorized regarding the administered dose, the units taken, the time elapsed since the last administration, time and date of all the injected doses (up to 800 doses, corresponding to at least three months of therapy) and flow control data. In addition, the pens can interface with various diabetes apps, such as Abbott’s FreeStyle LibreLink, Glooko*, Roche’s mySugr* and with management software used by healthcare facilities. The drug administration information collected can then be used in parallel with blood glucose monitoring data, allowing the relationship between self-administered injections made and related blood glucose levels to be highlighted. In fact, the pens support near field communication (NFC – Near Field Communication), so it is possible to transfer the history of injections to a smartphone, a tablet, a PC, to keep a personal record.
“An important change that has gained momentum in the last two decades is the increase in the number of people with access to computers and the Internet who feel comfortable exchanging data by electronic means,” comments Luigi Laviola, full professor of Endocrinology, Department of Precision and Regenerative Medicine and Ionian Area University of Bari – This has facilitated the greater use of assistance with telemedicine also in diabetes, with personalized and adapted management in real time.Today talking about digitization of diabetes means imagining a strategy in which the single device, the single software, the single digital solution is registered within a path that aims to make life easier.The smart pens remind the patient when the therapy has been administered and how many units, making management easier of the disease for the person with diabetes and providing more accurate data to the diabetologist”.
“Recent advances in healthcare delivery technologies such as smartphone applications, telemedicine, m-health, device connectivity, machine learning technology and artificial intelligence – adds Concetta Irace, full professor at Magna Græcia University di Catanzaro – led to a substantial improvement in glycemic control. It is essential to increase patient involvement and cooperation in diabetes self-management and to facilitate electronic sharing of data between healthcare professionals and patients to achieve continuous personalization in therapy thanks to a complete view of blood glucose and insulin. We must make the most of the technologies we have available today in order to help patients achieve their goals and an ever better quality of life, reducing the invasiveness of the disease in daily life”.
Also for Daniela D’Onofrio, founder and director of Portale Diabete, “there is no doubt that the last decade has seen a real revolution in the therapy and treatment of diabetes: from the new insulins, to sensors, to insulin pumps, everything has contributed to making it easier (or less difficult, if you like) the management of the disease and consequently the lives of people with diabetes”. These “new devices – he highlights – are added to, alongside those already mentioned and go to “cover” a vast range of patients. For people on multiple injections it is not uncommon, in my daily experience, to doubt whether the dose of insulin has been administered or how much insulin for that particular meal. And this every day, 3/4 times a day, often generating anxiety. Then there are the visits or in any case contacts with one’s GP and we all know how little visiting time is. We know that the “diary” is no longer used. Being able to download data and information with a click will allow the doctor to have a certain and reliable picture of the last few months. These new pens, therefore, will help people with diabetes to better manage their therapy, in a clearer and more aware way and at the same time they will facilitate relations with their diabetologist”.
“Novo Nordisk has always been committed to providing cutting-edge solutions to support the needs of people with diabetes and doctors – concludes Drago Vuina, General Manager and Corporate Vice President Novo Nordisk Italy – Today we are happy to announce the entry into Digital Health , a fundamental step to further advance in the treatment and therapy of this disease. The new technologies presented today aim to reduce the immense daily burden of this chronic disease and lead to an improvement in people’s quality of life”.