Novo Nordisk has warned that the insulin cartridge holder used in certain insulin pens could crack or break if exposed to certain chemicals, such as household cleaning agents.
The Danish biopharmaceutical firm has urged people using the NovoPen Echo and NovoPen 5 insulin pens to contact them if their pen is one of the affected batches. The list of affected pens can be found on Novo Nordisk’s website, as well as images of how to find the batch number.
Novo Nordisk added that there is no reason for concern if you are in possession of a NovoPen Echo or NovoPen 5 device with a batch number which has not been affected.
It is important for the cartridge holder in affected batches to be replaced as soon as possible because damage could cause the pen to deliver a smaller dose of insulin than required. This could therefore lead to high blood sugar levels.
This risk of hyperglycemia as a result of an affected cartridge holder is estimated to affect 0.1 per cent of patients, or one in 1,000.
The batch number of the Novo Pen Echo and NovoPen 5 pens can be found upon dialling up the pen. The NovoPen Echo can be red or blue in colour, whereas NovoPen 5 can be blue or grey.
Patients with affected batch numbers have been advised to not stop treatment without first consulting their doctor and to be attentive to the symptoms of high blood sugar levels, such as increased urination, tiredness and thirst.
Dr Avideh Nazeri, Director of Clinical, Medical and Regulatory for Novo Nordisk UK and Ireland said: “Novo Nordisk is committed to delivering high-quality products and sincerely apologises for this unfortunate situation and the concerns and inconvenience it may cause patients and healthcare professionals. We are working closely with the MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] and UK patient groups to ensure patient safety and minimise the disruption this situation causes.”
Novo Nordisk advises that patients contact Novo Nordisk online or ring their customer care line on 0845 600 5055 to request a replacement cartridge holder. Opening hours are 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-4pm Saturday-Sunday.

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