How Long Does An Insulin Pen Last – If you live with insulin-dependent diabetes and manage your blood sugar with an insulin pen or syringe, you probably take 2 or more doses of insulin a day.
That’s at least 730 times a year that you poke your skin with a needle to get an injection.
How Long Does An Insulin Pen Last
I do more than 2 injections a day. I eat about 7 meals a day, which is not unusual for people living with diabetes. That’s 2,555 injections per year!
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I don’t mind and it doesn’t hurt. But one of the main reasons why it doesn’t hurt is that I use the right injection, the right injection technique, and I change the needles often.
In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the needle or syringe size that’s best for you to minimize pain, prevent scar tissue build-up, and ensure you get the full shot each time you inject.
Pen needles are needles that attach to a pre-filled or disposable pen to administer medication.
Common types of pen needles include standard pen needles and safety pen needles, with most people using a standard pen needle.
The Fast Route To A Safe Insulin Pen
A standard pen needle has an outer cap and a removable inner needle cap. They need to be removed before the insulin starts to flow.
Unfortunately, due to poor training, not everyone is taught that you must remove both covers. According to the FDA, it has caused high blood sugar and even hospitalizations in people. So don’t forget to remove both covers and visually check if the insulin is flowing.
The safety injection is a little different. It has an outer core that is removed before injection, but the inner core is not. When you push the safety needle into the skin, the inner cover slides back to reveal the needle.
This type of needle is ideal if you are afraid of needles (since you will never see a real needle) or if you are worried about accidentally sticking yourself with a needle.
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Insulin pen needles are available in various sizes from 4 mm to 12.7 mm in length (5/32 inch to ½ inch).
In general, the medical community leans toward using smaller needles, but ultimately you have to decide which needle size is right for you.
The long prescribed needle can make the initial injection of insulin a little more difficult and may affect your willingness to give the prescribed injection.
If so, contact your doctor and ask for a different needle, or if you have a medical condition that does not require a prescription (more on that later), buy a size that fits you. Either online or at your local pharmacy
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Insulin and GLP-1 must be given subcutaneously (into the fat between the skin and the muscle), so you should choose the needle that allows you to do this most easily.
The average thickness of human skin is 1.9–2.4 mm regardless of body size, gender, ethnicity, and BMI. This means that a short 4- or 5-mm needle should be effective for all body types.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee states that there is no medical reason to recommend a needle longer than 8 mm. The Board recommends 4-, 5-, and 6-mm needles for all adult patients regardless of BMI.
This does not mean that you cannot use a long needle, but using a long needle can increase the risk of bruising, bleeding and pain.
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You also run the risk of injecting insulin into a muscle (called an intramuscular injection) when using a long needle. If insulin is injected into muscle rather than fat tissue, absorption can occur much faster, which can lower blood sugar levels.
Although shorter needles are generally recommended, there are certain situations where a longer needle may be a better choice.
For example, if you have coordination problems due to conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease, you may benefit from using a long needle.
Needle thickness is measured in gauge (G) and not millimeters or inches. Pen needles range from 29G to 32G, and the higher the gauge, the thinner the needle.
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The thickness of the pen needle is primarily important if you are injecting a large amount of insulin at once, as you need a smaller diameter needle to allow more insulin to flow more quickly.
There are different ways to successfully administer a subcutaneous injection, and the correct technique depends on the length of needle you choose.
If your needle is 4mm or 5mm, you can inject at a 90 degree angle. This means you don’t have to pinch the skin and you can inject with one hand if you want. This can be handy if you are injecting into your shoulders, lower back or glutes.
Children 2 to 6 years of age or very slender adults may need to use the pinch-up technique regardless of needle length.
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If you choose a needle longer than 5 mm, you may want to inject through a skin fold or at a 45-degree angle to avoid intravenous insulin injection.
Some people have expressed concerns that the smaller needles will cause leakage (insulin is not fully delivered) or that they are not suitable for people with larger bodies.
This concern has been dispelled and research has shown that smaller needles work for most body types without additional leakage.
You may be wondering if you can buy pen needles over the counter, and the short answer is that it depends.
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In the United States, prescription rules vary from state to state, and in some states you do not need a prescription to buy pen needles.
However, if you use your insurance to pay for the injections, they may require a prescription. Check with your insurance company if you need a prescription and, if so, what your co-payment is.
There are also options to buy pen needles online without a prescription, but which solution is most cost-effective for you will depend on your insurance.
Using a syringe to administer insulin is still the most commonly used method of insulin administration in the United States.
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A syringe is a hollow plastic tube with a plunger and a small thin needle. You must use a syringe to draw the insulin from the vial and then inject it.
You want to choose the right syringe for the type of insulin you are using, and the first thing you need to do is check that the concentration of insulin matches the syringe.
On the syringe (as well as on the packaging) it is indicated which insulin the syringe is intended for. Insulin concentration is measured in units/ml and expressed as U-100, U-200 or U-500.
Make sure your syringe matches the concentration of insulin, otherwise you could inject the wrong amount of insulin.
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Second, you want to choose a syringe size that works for you. If you use a large amount of insulin at once, you may want to choose a larger syringe so that you do not have to reduce the dose.
Finally, you may want to consider what needle size is right for you. As with pen needles, smaller needle sizes are generally recommended.
You can get syringes with 12.7 mm (1/2”) long needles, but the shortest needle length available is 6 mm (15/64”) x 31G.
It’s important to choose a needle or syringe that works for you, but remember that injections will be more comfortable with less risk of pain or leakage if:
Caring For Your Insulin Pen
If you choose the right needle size and follow proper injection techniques, injecting insulin is rarely painful. When you are finished with the needle or pen syringe, remember to dispose of it safely. Home » Diabetes » Medicine for diabetes » Does insulin expire? Storage, safety and how to tell if your insulin has gone bad.
As a pharmacist, I am often asked if insulin is safe to use after it has expired and how to tell if insulin has gone bad due to heat or cold.
Medicines have an expiry date, because after this date their stability cannot be guaranteed based on clinical studies.
It’s one thing to take advantage of the opportunity to eat expired food products. This is another chance for insulin that may not be working at its optimal capacity and therefore can harm your overall health.
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Using expired insulin is absolutely not recommended and should only be used if you have no other option.
The effectiveness of insulin decreases over time and it is impossible to predict how well the insulin will work after it expires – or if it will work at all!
The insulin is a little unusual because it had two expiration dates. Insulin has an expiration date if it is not opened and stored at the correct temperature. The second expiration date is the date that the manufacturer recommends that the insulin be stored at room temperature after opening.
When insulin doesn’t work properly, it happens after the initial diagnosis of diabetes when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for your body’s needs.
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Blood sugar starts to rise and it can happen very quickly. When you notice that your blood sugar is elevated for reasons other than illness, changes in diet and/or exercise, or new
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