Vial-to-Pen: Community Pharmacists Converting Insulin Regimens

  • Ashley Hannings University of Georgia College of Pharmacy
  • Natasha Michaels Sona Pharmacy + Clinic
  • Debbie Hiller BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina
  • Macary W Marciniak UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
  • Stefanie Ferreri UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Keywords: community pharmacy, insulin administration, insulin pen delivery systems, insulin vial, insulin syringe



Objective: To describe a vial-to-pen conversion program driven by community-based pharmacists and determine conversion success rate.

Methods: A report based on prescription claims was generated and identified 200 prescriptions filled for an insulin vial product and syringes. Patients were contacted by community-based pharmacists during a five-month period and were informed of the availability and potential benefits of insulin pen delivery systems (IPDS). If the patient agreed to the switch, the pharmacist contacted the prescriber to obtain a new prescription. Prescription refill records were tracked for six months post-intervention to determine whether patients who were converted remained on the IPDS. 

Results: The overall vial-to-pen conversion success rate was 26% out of 121 potential conversions. In addition, 52% of patients reached were willing to switch and prescribers approved 71% of the recommendations to switch from vial-to-pen. Of the prescriptions successfully converted to an IPDS, 84% of prescriptions were still dispensed as pen products six months following the conversion. 

Conclusion: Community-based pharmacists can serve as a resource to provide education on insulin delivery options and increase use of IPDS in patients with diabetes. 

Treatment of Human Subjects: IRB review/approval required and obtained


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2017-12-17
Accepted 2019-06-27
Published 2019-07-08
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research