Insulin Pen: Uses, Types, and Tips on Using It

Like other medical tools, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of these blood sugar-injecting pens. They’re not ideal for everyone but you might benefit from using them.

You’ve probably heard of insulin but what about an insulin pen? This is a tool used for people with diabetes to inject insulin. This is more convenient than a syringe so if you’re looking for a more convenient way to boost your blood sugar levels then this is definitely an excellent option. Not all diabetics need to take insulin. However, for those who do it can be a big plus when the process is more convenient. This is especially true when you’re away from home. In those situations, you’ll likely want a way to increase your insulin levels in a less intrusive way than a standard syringe.

Like other medical tools, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of these blood sugar-injecting pens. They’re not ideal for everyone but you might benefit from using them. You have various options when picking an insulin pen. That includes various types so you can select one that best suits your needs. These include disposable and reusable pens. In some cases, you’ll want to use the pen once and in other cases, it’s worth using the same pen more than once. You should also learn how to use these insulin pens correctly to make sure you get the best results.

What Are Insulin Pens Used for?

Diabetes is becoming an epidemic throughout the world. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 11 adults on the planet now have diabetes.

Diabetics sometimes need to inject the hormone insulin into their bodies in order to boost their blood sugar levels. These pens include a disposable needle, cartridge, and dial for measuring the dosage. 

The function of these tools is to boost diabetics’ insulin levels quickly and conveniently. For example, some diabetics are required to follow a schedule for taking insulin. This can be tough when dealing with a syringe and vial. The pens make the process easier.

Here are the general steps to use when using such pens:

Step 1    Remove a new pen 30 minutes before using it
Step 2 Check the pen’s expiration date and make sure it’s the right type/strength
Step 3 Add a new cartridge to reusable pens when needed
Step 4 Mix the insulin by following the pen between your palms
Step 5 Tilt the pen up/down until insulin is clear/smooth
Step 6 Wash your hands well. Take off the pen cap and use alcohol to clean the top
Step 7 Attach the new needle firmly to the pen
Step 8 Remove the caps while keeping the outer cap and turn the dial to correct dosage
Step 9 Use alcohol to clean the injection site and let the area dry
Step 10 Don’t inject into areas with bruises/wounds and avoid lumps/swelling.
Step 11 Hold the insulin pen to the injection site and follow the package’s instructions
Step 12 Wait 10 seconds then remove the needle from the skin
Step 13 Press injection site for 5-10 seconds but don’t rub the skin. 
Step 14 Remove and dispose of the needle safely
Step 15 Replace the pen’s cap

Types of Insulin Pens

When picking an insulin pen you have several options available. That includes different brands/models on the market. Make sure to do your research so you can choose wisely when selecting one.

The two main types of pens are disposable and reusable. The disposable type includes an insulin cartridge that’s pre-filled. After you use the unit you can toss the entire unit.

The other main type is the reusable pen. This contains an insulin cartridge that can be replaced. After it’s empty you swap out the old cartridge and swap in a new one.

Another issue to keep in mind is the needle must be replaced after each insulin injection. Even though the needle has to be replaced you can sometimes use a reusable insulin pen for many years.

It’s mostly about maintaining the unit properly. If you do that then the lifespan of the pen will be longer.

When picking a pen, you have many issues to consider. They include:

  • Increments for increasing dose
  • Way to correct wrong dose levels
  • How easy/difficult pen is to use
  • How insulin levels are shown
  • Size of dose dial’s numbers
  • Size of dose
  • Material/durability

You should also consider the needle’s length and thickness. The length ranges from 4mm to 12.7mm. A short needle could lower the risk of injecting muscle instead of fat.

The thickness is based on the needle’s gauge. The higher the number is the thicker the needle is.

These are a lot of issues to consider. However, if you do your homework and shop around, you’ll get the best results. Diabetes can be a serious disease so it’s important to make sure you’re maintaining your blood sugar levels effectively.

There are various ways to do that but an insulin pen can be one of the most effective options. It’s more mobile than a syringe.

Tips for Insulin Pens

Here are some tips for using insulin pens:

Store the insulin properly

Make sure you follow the packaging instructions. The requirements will differ a little for different companies. You’ll want to take certain steps like avoiding extreme temperatures. When the insulin is stored in very hot or cold temperatures it can have a negative effect.

Inject in skin’s fatty parts

You can find online resources that show the areas on your skin where you can do insulin injections. Some good areas are arms, abs, and highs.

Ask for assistance

There are times you might have questions about how to use the pen. This is especially true if you’re just getting started. Make sure to read the item’s instructions. However, you can also ask the pharmacist for any questions you have.  It’s always best to be on the safe side since blood sugar is a serious issue.

Keep the needle in the skin for 5-7 seconds

This will help to make sure all the insulin gets injected into the body.

Use alcohol to clean the skin to inject

Make sure to work using circles. Start where you’ll make the injection. Before you inject the insulin verify that the alcohol has dried to avoid stinging.

Alternate site injection region

It might seem to make sense to keep injecting the same area on your body. However, this is a bad idea. The area will need some time to heal properly. Another issue is you can also cause scar tissue by injecting in the same place.

Make sure to stay 1.5 inches from the area you last injected. You should also stay 2.5 to 2 inches from scars and your belly button.

Remind yourself about injections

One of the best ways to remember about your injections is to set a reminder on your phone for injection with the insulin pen.

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