NEW needle innovations are helping patients with diabetes more comfortably inject insulin, helping dispel the myth that injections are painful. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age but is often diagnosed in children, teens or young adults. Type 2 most often occurs in adulthood. Treatment options can include diet, exercise and medication that may require multiple injections a day, such as insulin.
While millions of patients inject insulin every day, many people may not know that new, shorter needles can help make injecting more comfortable. New pen needles as short as 4mm with a thinner gauge and a modified needle tip have been designed and shown to improve the comfort of injections. These shorter needles also lower the chance of accidentally injecting insulin into the muscle, which can be painful. Needles as short as 4mm are effective for children as well as adult patients, even those with a high body mass index (BMI). Longer needles could go too deep into the patient’s body and actually deliver insulin into the muscle, where absorption could be unpredictable and potentially create unanticipated hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) conditions.
Another benefit of using a 4mm needle is that most patients don’t have to “pinch up” the skin when injecting, making it possible to use only one hand. With a one-handed technique, patients can be more discreet when injecting and also rotate to more injection sites—such as the upper arm and buttocks—to avoid getting bumps (called “lipos”) under the skin. The American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends patients select the shortest needle possible.
Continued needle advancements can help ease the hesitation or fear that patients might feel about injecting. If you or a loved one is new to injection therapy, you may wish to review shorter needle options with your healthcare professional. For patients who need to inject multiple times a day and are looking to improve comfort, consider switching to a shorter needle length with a thinner gauge. For more information, visit www.bd.com/nano. North American Precis Syndicate