Insulin Pens Dribble

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Insulin Pens Dribble
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Insulin Pens Dribble

Research [Ref1] has shown that 3.0ml injection pens ‘dribble’ at the tip of the needle – important information if you wish to ensure that you receive the intended dose of insulin. The researchers recommend a hold-in time of at least 10 seconds after the insulin has been injected, a longer time than recommended by some of the insulin manufacturers.

Why is leakage important?
If you receive different amounts of insulin each time depending on hold-in time, then this might lead to unstable blood glucose levels especially as there are other factors that could influence the amount of insulin actually injected. There are other reasons that could cause the incorrect amount of insulin to be injected:

Air bubbles
Advice can vary about avoiding air bubbles from 4units of insulin should be discharged into the air and thereafter 2units until a drop of insulin is seen at the tip of the needle or 2 units should be discharged before every injection. 

Needle replacement – loss of insulin and air bubbles. All manufacturers recommend that the needle is removed after every injection but they give different reasons: [i] ‘to avoid liquid leak’, [ii] ‘to avoid air entering the vial’, [iii] to avoid needle blockage, [iv] to keep sterility and [v] for ’maximum safety and comfort’.

Ref 1 Practical Diabetes, June 2000, Vol 17, No 4