Insulin pen treatment
INJECTING INSULIN WITH A PEN
This is also called MDI (Multiple Daily Injections).
Insulin pens come in many shapes and sizes. The insulin prescribed by your doctor will also partly determine the choice of insulin pen.
There are refillable insulin pens and disposable pens. They both work equally well. Insulin pens and cartridges are for strictly individual use, so don't borrow it from your friend or family member.\
When comparing insulin pens, it is important to look at ease of use and accuracy. There are insulin pens that stand out based on specific features:
- There are pens that can deliver 0.5 unit or 1 unit per step/click. If you need little insulin then 0.5 unit is already a lot.
- Some pens have a memory function (easy to see if you have injected or not should you forget for a moment). There are also insulin pens where the dose button does not turn out (this makes it easier to inject if you cannot use your hands easily)
Smart insulin pens
Not only is the development of insulin pump systems rapid, but the technology of insulin pens is not lagging behind. From several manufacturers, a "smart" insulin pen will soon (July 2021) be on the market.
A smart insulin pen is a reusable injection pen linked to a CGM and a smartphone app. By linking to glucose readings from the CGM / FGM, a smart insulin pen can provide useful insights that can improve treatment. At Diabeter we follow these developments closely, as soon as we can report more you will find it on our website.
Pen needles for insulin
If you inject your insulin, always use a clean and new needle. Old needles can cause an infection in the skin and damage the skin as they become blunted with use.
The needle length is determined by the nurse. For example, they come in sizes from 4 mm to as much as 8 mm. The difference of use is mainly due to difference in subcutaneous fat. A thinner layer, a shorter needle.
Where can you inject your insulin?
You inject insulin into the subcutaneous fat tissue. The insulin is gradually absorbed from this fatty tissue.
The recommended injection sites are:
- Upper legs
Together with the nurse you will see what are the best places for you to inject.
How should you inject insulin?
Instructions on how to inject are all learned from the diabetes nurse. You can find a good instructional video on how to inject insulin here.
The following points are important:
- Make sure you have clean hands and clean skin.
- Alternate your injection sites. If you spray in the same place more than once, you will get lipohypertrophy: accumulation of fat cells in the subcutaneous tissue due to the side effect of the insulin. If you inject regularly it hurts less, but the insulin is not absorbed evenly. This can cause your glucose values to fluctuate. For this reason, the nurse always looks at your injection sites during the check-up.
- A bruise can indicate injecting the insulin too deeply. Blood vessels lie more towards the muscle layer.
- A bump/swelling immediately during/after the injection indicates too shallow an injection of insulin.