How To Store Insulin Pens
Similar to vials of insulin, insulin pens do not require constant refrigeration once theyve been opened. Insulin pens only require refrigeration before their first use. After its initial use, simply keep your insulin pen out of direct sunlight and in room temperature.
Insulin pens typically stay good for 7 to 28 days after the initial use, depending on the type of insulin they contain. However, if the expiration date printed on the pen or cartridge has passed, you should not use the insulin.
Each time you use your pen:
- Check the expiration date and type of insulin .
- Check to make sure that your insulin is not clumpy and that your fast-acting insulin is clear and colorless.
- Roll the pen in your hands, and then gently tilt the pen if it is an insulin mix.
- Remove the pen cap and clean the top with sterile alcohol.
- Attach the needle to the pen. Use a new needle each time.
- Prime the pen, and then dial up the correct dose. Double-check the dose before you inject.
- Remove the cap and choose a clean site to inject. Hold the needle at a 90-degree angle, unless you are instructed to do otherwise by your doctor.
- Push the button to inject the insulin and wait 5 to 10 seconds to be sure all of the insulin has been absorbed.
- Remove the needle and dispose of it properly.
Disposing Of Needles Syringes And Lancets
In the United States, people use more than 3 billion needles and syringes each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These products are a risk to other people and should be disposed of properly. Regulations vary by location. Find out what your state requires by calling the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643, or visiting their site at .
You arent alone in treating your diabetes. Before beginning insulin therapy, your doctor or health educator will show you the ropes. Remember, whether youre injecting insulin for the first time, running into problems, or just have questions, turn to your healthcare team for advice and instruction.
Alternative Medications For People With Type 2 Diabetes
People living with type 1 diabetes must use insulin to help control their blood sugar, but those living with type 2 diabetes may be able to use oral medications to help manage their blood sugar instead of injections.
Oral medication is typically prescribed along with lifestyle changes, such as increased activity, weight loss , and diet changes.
Medications for type 2 diabetes are designed to lower blood glucose levels, but they may not work for everyone. Typically, they work best for people who have recently developed diabetes and do not use supplemental insulin.
Before prescribing any of these oral medications, your doctor will talk with you about your medical history and any additional medications you take.
If youre living with type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin, so youll need to continue to permanently take insulin.
People living with type 2 diabetes can manage, and maybe even reverse, their diagnosis with lifestyle changes.
According to the , lifestyle changes that can help manage type 2 diabetes are:
- eating a nutrient-dense diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- maintaining a moderate weight
- staying physically active
These lifestyle habits are also helpful for managing type 1 diabetes, but they wont reverse the diagnosis.
Additionally, you can help manage your blood sugar by:
- eating at regular times
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Exceptions To Insulin Dosing And Timing
Long-acting insulins arenât tied to mealtimes. Youâll take detemir once or twice a day no matter when you eat. And youâll take glargine once a day, always at the same time. Deglutec is taken once a day, and the time of day can be flexible. But some people do have to pair a long-acting insulin with a shorter-acting type or another medication that does have to be taken at meal time.
Rapid-acting products can also be taken right after you eat, rather than 15 minutes before mealtime. You can take some of them at bedtime.
For more information about when to take insulin, read the “dosing and administration” section of the insulin product package insert that came with your insulin product, or talk with your doctor.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Insulin Injection
Insulin is one of the most important hormones of our body that helps in transferring the glucose in parts of our body. In addition to this, it offers the required amount of fats to our body parts and gives us the energy to function properly. However, if there is a scarcity of insulin in our body then the sugar might remain in the blood and lead to the problem of high blood sugar. Diabetes can lead to various health complications including eye problems, kidney complications, high blood pressure, and more. Injecting a required amount of insulin in the blood can help in resisting the increase of sugar levels in the body.
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What Are The Benefits Of Insulin Therapy
Having constantly raised blood glucose levels damages your blood vessels and nerves, leading to problems affecting your kidneys, feet and eyes. Your risk of stroke and heart attacks also increases. Insulin therapy helps prevent diabetes complications by keeping your blood glucose within your target range. Because insulin helps to move the glucose from your blood into your cells, you may also feel better and have more energy once you start on insulin. Taking insulin may mean you can stop taking, or reduce the dose of some of your tablets.
Delaying starting insulin can result higher blood glucose, increasing the risk of developing or worsening diabetes-related complications.
How Much Insulin And At What Time
For practical purposes, the patient can always be commenced on 10 units of intermediate-acting insulin, given just before bedtime and as late as possible. This timing allows the insulin to exert its maximum action just before dawn rather than at 2-3 a.m. when it is most likely to cause hypoglycaemia. If the patient is very nervous or reluctant and it is imperative to minimise the risk of hypoglycaemia, however small, then a slightly lower dosage can be used to get the process underway and to gain the patient’s confidence. Patients who have symptoms of hyperglycaemia can start at a higher dose of insulin, but this would rarely need to exceed 20-25 units.
The bedtime dose of insulin is best given as isophane insulin. Currently in Australia, there is only one brand of human isophane insulin available. When it becomes generally available, insulin glargine will probably become the basal insulin of choice as its ‘flatter’ and longer action make it more suitable for this purpose.3
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Living With Insulin Online
If you have recently started using insulin or have been using insulin for a while and would like to learn more, Living with Insulin is an online learning hub to help you become more confident in using insulin. There are 10 short interactive modules covering a range of practical topics such as how to inject insulin, insulin supplies and storage, and low blood glucose levels. No registration is required so you can get started straight away, it is also available as an app so you can learn on the go with your mobile.
Click here to access this education today.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin should be checked regularly to determine your response to human insulin. Your doctor will also tell you how to check your response to human insulin by measuring your blood or urine sugar levels at home. Follow these directions carefully.
You should always wear a diabetic identification bracelet to be sure you get proper treatment in an emergency.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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Why Insulin Can Become Necessary For A Person With Type 2 Diabetes
Starting insulin treatment should not be seen as a setback.
People with type 2 diabetes may require insulin when their meal plan, weight loss, exercise and antidiabetic drugs do not achieve targeted blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is a progressive disease and the body may require insulin injections to compensate for declining insulin production by the pancreas. That is why starting insulin treatment should never be seen as a failure.
Starting insulin treatment should never be seen as a failure.
Treatment with insulin may be added to an antidiabetic medication or completely replace it. Regardless of the treatment, lifestyle habits are essential to managing diabetes.
Many people are reluctant to inject insulin for various reasons:
- Fear of pain or needles
- Impression that this is the last resort
- Fear of hypoglycemic attacks
- Fear of weight gain
- Memories of loved one who had to take insulin
If this is the case, do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with a health care professional. Some of your fears may be due to false beliefs. Learning more about todays insulin treatment will probably allay your fears. For many people, insulin is an effective way to achieve good blood-sugar control, which can prevent or delay certain diabetes complications over the long term.
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion
In patients with type 2 diabetes already using at least one daily insulin injection, the introduction of intensive insulin therapy with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion resulted in comparable glycemic control, weight gain, and hypoglycemia risk as multiple daily injection therapy . Although continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion was associated with greater improvements in treatment satisfaction in one study , we recommend that its use be restricted to selected patients in experienced centers only.
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Can I Carry An Insulin Pen While Flying
Yes. TSA rules specifically state that diabetes-related supplies, including liquids, are allowed onboard once they have been screened by X-ray or hand inspection. You should declare your insulin pen and other diabetes equipment and separate them from other items when going through TSA screening.
Always pack your medications in a separate clear, sealable bag and never place insulin in a checked bag as changes in pressure and temperature can affect it.
What To Tell Patients On The Day They Start Insulin
Although everyone has different information needs, comprehensive information given when starting insulin may confuse many patients. They may not remember the more important messages and some may even be scared away from insulin treatment altogether. Our practice is to concentrate on teaching patients how to inject the insulin subcutaneously into the abdomen, using devices such as the FlexPen or InnoLet which are extremely user-friendly and can be taught in a matter of minutes.
The day patients start insulin is also not an ideal time for detailed dietary advice. We only emphasise the need to have regular meals and snacks containing carbohydrates.
At this stage of diabetes, most patients would be familiar with glucose monitoring and should be asked to perform this. As adjustment of insulin dosage in this regimen is primarily dependent on the morning fasting blood glucose concentrations, testing at this time point is the first priority and should be included every day. For some patients who cannot test their blood glucose for various reasons, it may be necessary to commence insulin without such monitoring and rely on blood glucose monitoring at the doctor’s office and HbA1c concentration to make dose adjustments.
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When Should Insulin Therapy Be Initiated
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and thus, ultimately this question will arise for many of our patients. Unfortunately, there is no unequivocal answer, which was nicely illustrated by a recent interactive case vignette. The polling results demonstrated once again that the management of patients with type 2 diabetes uncontrolled by two oral glucose-lowering agents is controversial. Furthermore, the preferred treatment option was found to be related to the respondents’ locations and self-reported specialties .
What Medicines Might I Take For Diabetes
The medicine you take depends on the type of diabetes you have and how well the medicine controls your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar levels. Other factors, such as any other health conditions you may have, medication costs, your insurance coverage and copays, access to care, and your lifestyle, may affect what diabetes medicine you take.
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How Do I Choose The Right Insulin Pen
When choosing an insulin pen, youll want to consider cost and convenience as well as your insulin dosing needs. You should always consult with your doctor before purchasing a pen.
While reusable pens are more expensive at first, the replacement cartridges they use are typically cheaper than disposable pens, which means they will be about the same price over time.
You should also consider how much insulin you need each day. Some insulin pens can dose insulin in half-unit increments while others use whole units. Additionally, different pens can deliver different maximum doses.
You should also consider needle length and thickness when choosing a pen. Needle thickness is measured using gauge and the higher the gauge, the thinner the needle. While thicker needles might be more painful to inject, they will deliver insulin more quickly than thinner needles.
Types Of Insulin Pens
The pens come in two basic forms: disposable and reusable.
A disposable insulin pen contains a prefilled cartridge, and the entire pen is thrown away when the cartridge is empty. Reusable pens allow you to replace the insulin cartridge when its empty.
The insulin pen you use depends on the type of insulin you require, the number of units you typically need per insulin shot, and the available pens for that insulin type.
The needles on insulin pens come in different lengths and thicknesses, and most fit on all of the available insulin pens.
Talk to your healthcare professional to decide which pen is best for you.
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Insulin Is Difficult To Take
Gone are the days when insulin injections were bulky, conspicuous, and difficult to administer.
“Today, insulin comes in pen injectors that are easy to carry with you, don’t require refrigeration, and can be used discreetly, often just once a day,” said Dr. Crandall.
“There are a large variety of insulin and insulin regimens that are much more convenient than they used to be,” said Dr. Crandall.
When To Stop Oral Hypoglycaemic Agents
Sometimes patients develop frequent daytime hypoglycaemia on combined treatment. When this happens, the sulfonylurea dosage should be reduced or ceased if necessary. Apart from this and in the absence of contraindications , there is no good evidence that oral hypoglycaemic drugs must be stopped at any stage and our policy is to continue them while glycaemic control remains satisfactory. Most diabetes specialists would support the continuation of metformin indefinitely, because it increases insulin sensitivity. Others advocate stopping the sulfonylurea after insulin treatment is established, an attitude based more on philosophy than real need. Some patients may wish to reduce the number of tablets they take especially when they are already on multiple medications for blood pressure and lipid control. There is nothing wrong with reducing one or more of the oral hypoglycaemic drugs once they are established on insulin therapy, as long as it is recognised that the dose of insulin needs to go up, by an average of 20-30 units per day for each withdrawn drug, to maintain the same degree of glycaemic control.
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Who Needs To Take Insulin
Diabetes impairs insulin production by the pancreas and use of this essential hormone by the body. The condition causes high blood sugar levels.
However, not every person with type 2 diabetes will need to take insulin. People with type 1, on the other hand, will have to supplement their insulin supply for the rest of their lives.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: Typically starts in childhood when a person does not produce enough insulin. Usually results from the bodys immune system attacking an otherwise healthy pancreas.
- Type 2 diabetes: Can develop at any age but 45 years is the average age of onset. Either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the bodys cells become resistant to its actions.
- Gestational diabetes: Occurs during pregnancy and makes it harder for a womans body to respond to insulin. Typically stops after childbirth but increases a womans risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are usually lifelong conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, accounting for
How Do I Take It
Many people get insulin into their blood using a needle and syringe, a cartridge system, or pre-filled pen systems.
The place on the body where you give yourself the shot may matter. You’ll absorb insulin the most evenly when you inject it into your belly. The next best places to inject it are your arms, thighs, and buttocks. Make it a habit to inject insulin at the same general area of your body, but change up the exact injection spot. This helps lessen scarring under the skin.
Inhaled insulin, insulin pumps, and a quick-acting insulin device are also available.
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