Information for experts
Knowledge from experts for experts
Dr. med. Gerhard-W. Schmeisl: Injection techniques today
Beate Rothenbucher: Hurdles in everyday life with pen therapy
Single use of pen needles
Using pen needles only once ensures a hygienic and effective insulin supply from the medical point of view.
Unfortunately, pen needles are often used more than once by the majority of insulin-dependent diabetics. The possible consequences are lipohypertrophies, infections and even blood sugar fluctuations. This puts a strain on both the diabetics themselves and on the healthcare system.
The microscope reveals it
Modern pen needles are disposable products of the highest quality. They are extremely thin and sharp and are coated with a lubricating film. This results in a gentle and comfortable injection - but only once!
Under the microscope you can see that re-used pen needles can become blunt, bent or blocked. Tissue remnants can stick to the needle.
Risk of re-using pen needles
If you re-use your pen needle, you should be aware of the risks:
- Injections will be more painful
- The frequency of injuries under the skin and bleeding (including bruising) will increase
- Injuries promote the formation of lipohypertrophies (hardening of the fatty tissue)
- The needle is no longer sterile, and re-use is not only unhygienic but also increases the risk of infection
- Crystallised insulin and tissue remnants can block the needle
- Air bubbles in the cartridge shift, possibly leading to an inaccurate insulin dose or insulin subsequently leaking from the needle
What you should respect
It is particularly important to note that the effect of injections into lipohypertrophies is uncertain in diabetes therapy. In these areas the absorption of insulin is impaired, making the effect of the insulin difficult to estimate. The consequences are "unexplained" fluctuations in the blood sugar level.
If you economise on pen needles, you are economising on your health!