Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes
Shorter Insulin Needles
Could they help you?
Shorter insulin needles are now available for both syringes and pen needles. Many people feel their injections are more comfortable when they use a shorter needle, but have questions about them. Here are some of the most common questions and their answers.
What advantage does the shorter insulin needle offer?
For insulin to be properly absorbed, it should be injected into the subcutaneous tissue or 'fatty layer' above the muscle. A shorter needle may help prevent intramuscular injections (injecting into the muscle). This is especially true for thin adults, children and people who do not pinch up the skin when injecting. The short needle may decrease pain during an injection.
Who would benefit from using shorter needles?
All children with diabetes, and normal weight adults who inject insulin, would benefit from using shorter needles. As well, people who do not pinch up would find shorter needles helpful.
Are there people for whom the shorter needle can be a risk?
A Canadian study found that shorter needles may not be the best choice for people who are overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] of more than 27). Some people in the study had elevations of their blood sugar when they switched to an 8 mm needle. They tended to have more leakage of insulin out of the injection site.
An overweight person who wants to use a shorter needle should be carefully followed for signs of change in blood sugar control.
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