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Mightier Ways to Use the “Insulin” Pen Safely

Mightier Ways to Use the “Insulin” Pen Safely

For many newly diagnosed and even longstanding diabetes patients, one of the hardest parts of learning to control the symptoms of their disease is keeping the disease itself from taking too much control over their lives. All kinds of adjustments likely need to be made to things like diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and so on. And yet, most get around to finding their “new normal” without too much trouble, provided they follow the advice of their doctors and pharmacists, and use medications as directed.

Sometimes easier said than done.

Particularly when it comes to using pen devices for routine insulin injections.

More to the point, studies reveal common mistakes, such as patients reusing attached needles too many times, misdialing dosage amounts, and improper storage of pen devices. According to a recent article posted on, the consequences can result in the degradation or expiration of the medication, as well as a higher risk of infection, among other health concerns.

What to look for and look out for.

No doubt those factors are important to keep in mind, but the benefits of using pen devices in terms of convenience and portability have made them an increasingly popular method of insulin delivery. In fact, the Journal of Diabetes Science Technology revealed several years ago that, in a review of more than 40 studies, patients preferred pens over vials and syringes because they were easier to use, caused less pain, and were more socially acceptable.

Healthy tips from Benzer Pharmacy.

Before you reach for your next insulin injection, keep the following details in mind—because they matter:

Roll with the change. Prep the pen by removing the cover or cap and gently roll the pen between palms for approximately 15 seconds to mix (intermediate-acting insulin should have a milky white appearance, as described in an instructional article posted on

Go step-by-step. 1. Detach paper tab off pen; 2. Affix needle onto insulin end; 3. Take off outer and inner needle covers and dispose of properly.

Prime time. Clear air from the needle by the priming process; then carefully adjust dosage selector knob accordingly and hold the pen with the needle pointing upward. From there, press dose knob fully and watch for insulin to appear. Repeat until insulin appears at the tip of the needle. Set the dial back at zero after priming.

Dial-in Set your dosage by turning the dial and verify if you’ve selected the appropriate amount by looking through the small selector window.

On your mark. Choose an area for injection, generally in the abdomen for many kinds of insulin, usually just beneath the ribs and above the pubic line—about 3-4 inches away from the navel.

Get set and go. Hold pen securely, gently squeeze skin and insert the needle from a 90-degree angle; releasing the pinched skin, press down on the dosage knob and leave in place for 5-10 seconds to ensure full insulin delivery. Remove needle in a straight up-and-down direction; do not turn.

One and done. Replace cover to outer needle, unscrew used needle and discard in a safe container.

At Benzer Pharmacy, we remain committed to helping our customers get in and out, and on with life. If you ever have a question about a medication or the best way to use it, we’re here to help.

After all, that’s the point.

To learn more, visit