Luxura™—A Reusable Insulin Pen

Elegant insulin injection device

The HumaPen(R) Luxura™ is an insulin injector that combines several innovations into a robust yet elegant pen device that can be carried and used anywhere. Eli Lilly and Company sought to develop a new reusable insulin pen design to augment the existing line, and improve on a variety of functional characteristics of existing devices. Lilly tasked IDEO with the engineering, product and industrial design challenge to develop a design that improved:
• Dose mechanics: Enable a smooth and quiet rotation of the dose knob
• Dose setting: Enable the pen to dial backwards if you dial past the needed dose (previous reusable pens wasted insulin if the patient needed to dial back the dose);
• Injection force: Reduce the thumb pressure needed to inject and reduce the variability around that force;
• Cartridge changing: Enable the 3 milliliter glass cartridge to be more easily replaced; and,
• Plunger Reset: Enable a simpler push reset of the plunger vs the manual “re-threading”

In addition to the enhanced functional performance, Lilly asked IDEO to imbue this pen with a more “dressy,” and less “medical-looking” appearance. IDEO’s designers dressed the robust mechanical design described above in a graceful, elegant appearance and form factor, with a matte-finish painted body and chrome dose knob and clip. The high-quality image helps minimize the stigma of injecting in public, which more “clinical-looking” pens can convey. Many patients expressed to us that appearance was very important and made them less concerned about dosing in public.

The result of this design effort — the Luxura™ Pen — delivered an enhanced set of functional characteristics, with a polished look that recalls a fine writing instrument. Launched in the UK, Japan, Germany and other markets starting in 2002, it has been very well accepted.

Project date: 2005