Safely administering your insulin in the most convenient way possible is important. This helps to ensure that you get your doses on time and that the amount of insulin that you are taking is within the prescribed range. Insulin has to be injected, but you have some options and one of these is insulin pen needles. These needles work with a device that looks and functions similar to a pen. For some people, these are easier to use than a traditional needle and syringe for injecting insulin.
WHAT IS A PEN NEEDLE FOR INSULIN?
Pen needles are becoming a more popular way to inject insulin. For some people, this insulin delivery method is easier compared to having to draw up insulin and use a normal needle and syringe to inject the medication. These needles attach to a pen that holds the insulin. The needles themselves are hollow, allowing the insulin to come through them.
There is a plastic hub that the needle is embedded in. The plastic part is what attaches to the pen. They may snap into place or screw on, depending on the pen needle and pen that you are using. Once the needle is attached to the pen, you will follow the instructions for the pen to inject the insulin into your body.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER A PEN NEEDLE FOR INSULIN?
Unless you need to self-mix your insulin, you can usually use a pen needle to inject insulin. These devices are especially ideal for people who need to inject insulin several times per day. Some people see insulin pens as less scary compared to a normal syringe and needle, making it easier to inject insulin as needed throughout the day. The following are other advantages of using a pen needle for insulin:
• It is easier to carry a pen and pen needle with you when you need to inject insulin away from your home
• Most types of insulin can be injected using these devices
• The dosage is more precise, resulting in less insulin being wasted
• You will not have to draw up your own insulin, allowing for better control over the dosage
• You use a dial on the pen to determine the insulin dosage
WHAT ARE THE SIZES FOR PEN NEEDLES?
Insulin pen needles come in different sizes, allowing you to choose the one that is the easiest for you to use. When determining the right size, you have to consider the gauge and length of the pen needle. Millimeters are used to measure the needle’s length. The lengths range from four to 12.7 millimeters, with four millimeters being the shortest needle available. The thickness of the needle is the gauge. The higher the number, the thinner the needle. For example, a needle that is 27 gauge, is thicker than one that is 32 gauge.
DO YOU NEED TO PRIME A PEN NEEDLE FOR INSULIN?
You must prime your pen before you inject your insulin. This ensures that there is no air that will inject with the insulin. When your pen is properly primed, you will get the correct dose of insulin. Air in the needle may cause you to get too much or too little of the medicine, which could negatively affect your blood sugar levels. You should follow the instructions that come with your pen to ensure that you have it primed properly and always prime the needle before every injection.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INSULIN?
Your doctor may prescribe more than one type of insulin, depending on what controls your blood sugar levels the best. There are five types of injectable insulin. It is important to understand what these are so that you know why your doctor prescribed a specific type of insulin. The five insulin types that are injected include:
• Rapid-acting: They peak in about 30 to 90 minutes, start working in under 15 minutes and the total duration is approximately three to five hours.
• Intermediate-acting: They peak in about eight hours, start working in one to three hours and the total duration is approximately 12 to 16 hours.
• Regular: They peak in about two to four hours, start working in 30 to 60 minutes and have a total duration of three to five hours.
• Long-acting: They have little to no peak, start working in about one hour and have a total duration of approximately 20 to 26 hours.
• Pre-mixed/combination: These are a combination of regular and intermediate insulin. The peak time, start time and duration depend on the exact combination of insulins.
WHEN AND HOW DO YOU INJECT INSULIN USING A PEN NEEDLE?
Pen needles for insulin are used according to the prescription that your doctor provides. Some people need to inject insulin more often than others. In most cases, you will check your blood sugar, and this will determine the dose of insulin that you need to inject. Your doctor will give you a chart and when you get your blood sugar reading, it will tell you what dose you need to inject at that glucose level.
For long-acting insulins, you may inject these on a regular schedule. Then, your doctor will give you a short-acting insulin to help to bring down your blood sugar levels when they get too high. You will use the same technique with a pen needle no matter which type of insulin you are injecting. If the needle is eight millimeters or longer, lift the skin before injecting the insulin. For needles that are six millimeters or shorter, you do not have to lift the skin.
Before you inject your insulin, you should use an alcohol swab to cleanse the injection site and wash your hands with water and soap. Ensure that the needle is properly attached to the pen by following the instructions that come with these items. Determine if you need to lift your skin based on the length of the pen needle for insulin that you are using. Then, use a 90-degree angle to insert the needle into your skin to inject the insulin.
If your doctor recommends insulin pen needles to inject your insulin, it is important that you are using the right technique. Your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions about how to use these devices. It is important that you use them exactly as instructed to get the most benefit from the insulin and to ensure the least trauma from the injection process. If the pen needles you are using are not working out for you, let your doctor know so that they can prescribe a different size. Please share this article on social media and put a link to it on your website.