Insulin Pen Needle Injecting: Best Practice
There are an estimated 500,000 Australians who are insulin-dependent. This requires them to monitor and adjust their body’s insulin levels. The aim of an insulin injection is to bring the body into a healthy balance.
It is never too late or too early to develop good injection habits. Best practises for injecting can make this a more efficient and reduce hazards involved in injecting.
Your insulin needs to be kept unopened and refrigerated. Don’t freeze it.
When you remove it, check the expiry date.
If you are using the Unifine® Pentips® Plus, remove the protective seal and screw on a new pen needle.
Injection Site Selection and Rotation
Insulin is injected into the subcutaneous fatty tissue below the skin. This enables a slow and sustained absorption. Injections into muscle can result in the insulin being absorbed too quickly.
Good places to inject include abdomen, buttocks, thighs, hips, and upper arms. If injecting in the abdomen, leave four-centimetre space from the navel.
Rotating injection sites will mean fewer injection site complications, such as fatty lumps (lipohypertrophy).
The top layer of skin is the epidermis. Below this is a layer of subcutaneous fat, and below that is muscle.
The insulin is intended to go directly into subcutaneous fat but not as deeply as muscle.
There is a range of pen needles sizes to suit everyone who is insulin dependent and their physical size.
Use a fresh needle
Insulin needles are designed to be disposable and single use. Make sure you use a fresh needle every time.
Needles that have already been used are no longer sterile.
They may result in:
- Air bubbles and leakages
- Blockages or clogging
- Bent or broken tips
In turn, these can lead to dose inaccuracies, skin damage, transmissible disease and infection, and painful injections,
NEVER share needles or cartridges.
Prime the Pen Needle
Prime the pen as directed in the instruction of your pen tip before injecting.
Ensure Clean Site and Clean Hands
Make sure the site you have chosen is clean and wash your hands.
In a clinical setting, the skin would normally be wiped with a topical alcohol swab, this isn’t necessary at home. If you do use a swab, make sure it is dry before injecting.
Angle of Injection
The angle of injection is generally 90 degrees. However, for children and those who are very thin, it may be better to use a 45-degree angle.
Pull the clothes away from the site. It’s not good practice to inject through clothing, or anywhere where there is ulceration or inflammation. Moles should be also be avoided.
Penetrate the skin quickly. Wait for 10 seconds, remove the pen needle.
After the injection
Remove the used needle after every injection so that it is not still there when you need to have your next one.
If you have used the Unifine® Pentips® Plus, there is a safety chamber for the removal of used needles without causing needlestick injury. To use, place the removal chamber onto a flat surface. Push the used pen needle at a 90-degree angle into the removal chamber until it clicks. Then unscrew and place it into a sharps container.
Watch how to insert and remove a pen needle on the Unifine® Pentips® Plus.
National Health Survey 2014-2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS 4364.0.55.001 – National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2014-15~Main%20Features~Diabetes%20mellitus~12 last accessed 06 March 2018.
There are an estimated 1.2 million Australians with some form of diabetes including type 1 (diabetes mellitus), type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
Of this group, 500,000 are estimated to be insulin-dependent. This requires them to monitor and adjust their body’s insulin levels. Too much insulin can result in hyperglycemia. Too low means hypoglycemia. The aim of an insulin injection is to bring the body into a healthy balance.
Some people with Type 1 diabetes use a pump device that controls their insulin monitoring and delivery. For many others, pen needles are a comfortable method for delivering insulin when it is needed.
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