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Thread: Question regarding insulin pen needle vs syringes

  1. Default Question regarding insulin pen needle vs syringes

    My daughter has been on 8mm syringes for four years now and I want to switch her to the insulin pen... I am thinking that the pen needles are not as painful as the syringes... My endo had told me that the nano and the mini pen needles are not as effective in delivering insulin as the 8 mm size..
    Also- the reliability of the pens..I would like to have her use the nano or mini needles..
    Also - I read that sometimes the pens can easily get clogged and don't prime well..

  2. #2

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    I don't have any advice/input but am very interested in hearing opinions on this from those that deal with pens. My husband and I have never used the pen, but Andy's school wants to use it exclusively. Not sure what advise to give them and/or if I should expect insulin ratio to be slightly different with the pen versus syringe. I look forward to seeing what others can offer by way of insight!
    Mom to Andy - 9 years old, dx at 10 months, Novolog and Lantus
    Mom to Lauren - 7 years old, non-d
    Mom to Abigail - 5 years old, non-d

    Wife to Peter - 15 years and going strong

  3. #3

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    She tried using a pen for awhile but we found that the pain was not that much different with the pen and also that there was considerable "leakback" after removing the needle from the skin. So she was never getting the full dose of insulin.

    As far as wanting the shots to hurt less, do you do any type of numbing before hand? An icecube placed on the injection site for a minute prior works well for her.
    Chris
    Dad to Danielle, 15 years old, dx 8/17/2007, MDI (Humalog and Levemir)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by debbrooke View Post
    My daughter has been on 8mm syringes for four years now and I want to switch her to the insulin pen... I am thinking that the pen needles are not as painful as the syringes... My endo had told me that the nano and the mini pen needles are not as effective in delivering insulin as the 8 mm size..
    Also- the reliability of the pens..I would like to have her use the nano or mini needles..
    Also - I read that sometimes the pens can easily get clogged and don't prime well..
    I guess you won't know until you try it. It can't hurt to try the pens for a while. You can always switch back if you need to. You might end up really liking the pens.

    One advantage of the pens is you don't have to carry around a whole vial of insulin.

    One Advantage of syringes is more accurate dosing (1/4 units are impossible with pens).

    But just because you heard of some people having a problem once in a while with pens doesn't mean you will, or that a problem once in a while will make it okay to use them. You're more likely to read about problems, because people aren't just going to start a new thread just to say, "it's been five weeks since I had a problem with my insulin pens." KWIM? So it makes problems seem more common than they are.

    Good luck!
    DS age 12 dx'ed 9/09 Pumping with MM as of 5/11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois
    Posts
    1,592

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    We started using the Novolog Jr. pen and were happy with it. That said, we had nothing to compare it to and did experience a bit of leak back.

    I actually prefer syringes and was considering getting some of the new(er) BD smaller ones (6mm needle/31G) as backup--ee would fill it from a penfill cartridge.
    virgo39
    DD dx at 5 yrs, 3 months (11/09)
    Omnipod w/Novolog (7/10)

  6. #6

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    I use nano needles. They deliver my insulin just fine.
    There is some leak back on pens, but I don't see an issue as compared to, say, the little well on syringes.
    I have done thousands of shots with insulin pens. I had exactly one jam, due to a needle that bent, and it was very easily fixed. I have also had one high blood sugar due to not priming a pen with a new cartridge (oops).

    I use Lantus pens right now. I think using pens is valuable for two reasons:
    1. If you have two insulins, and you take one by pen and one by vial, it's way harder to mix them up.
    2. If you get a pen, each cartridge holds 300 units instead of the 1000 units in a vial. If you use less than 1000 units of that type of insulin per month, it's very nice to be throwing away less insulin or no insulin per month.

    However, I do like the smaller needles. I just don't think they make a huge difference.
    -Jonah
    dx age 17, now 25
    on Lantus for 7 years; on minimed 530 G since 12/7/13

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by LantusFiend View Post
    2. If you get a pen, each cartridge holds 300 units instead of the 1000 units in a vial. If you use less than 1000 units of that type of insulin per month, it's very nice to be throwing away less insulin or no insulin per month.
    Just a reminder, people using syringes can also do what I do and order the pen cartridges and use them for syringes. As you said, you waste less insulin.
    Chris
    Dad to Danielle, 15 years old, dx 8/17/2007, MDI (Humalog and Levemir)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sparks, Nevada
    Posts
    5,091

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher View Post
    Just a reminder, people using syringes can also do what I do and order the pen cartridges and use them for syringes. As you said, you waste less insulin.
    yes I only get Lantus in pens and draw the insulin out with a syringe. And Apidra we use a vial at home but also get pens to take and draw from for vacations and camping trips.

    I have been meaning to get my hands on the new 6mm BD syringes.
    McKenna DX 1/3/06 @ 13 months^9 YRS
    Pumping @ 18 months & Dexcoming @ 4.5 yrs
    PINGing Tethered with Lantus
    Madison DX 3/17/14 @ 5yrs thru Trial Net
    + 4 auto-antibodies


    impaired glucose at 2hr mark
    8/12 BG 166^4/13 BG 205^6/13 BG 143^3/14 BG 216
    faith trust and pixie dust

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    576

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    We have used pens for years with no problems. The only time we had an issue was when I dropped a pen and the cartridge cracked. I've never had them get jammed. There is some leak back you see but it seems to dose my dd consistently. If one needs a little more insulin with the pen that is not a problem; inconsistency would be a problem.

    I wouldn't say syringes are more accurate. You can do in between doses with them but they are less accurate because there is more room for user error. I would say pens are a great choice, esp for school when other people are giving insulin.
    Roberta
    homeschooling mom to 4, incl Maris, age 12, dx at 19 mo., Recently hit the 10 yr anniversary!!
    former Cozmo user, now on MDI of levemir and novolog
    Dexcom G4 user since 12/13
    Looking to connect to other families dealing with diabetes in New England? Check out: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...swithdiabetes/

  10. #10

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    We just used a pen for the first time tonight.. I really like it! The needle is smaller, but the change still freaked DS out. I did notice a small leak back, but thought it might have been my 'technique'. I admit it was kind of confusing at first on how to put the needle on :P But now I get it and it won't be as bad. However, I really liked not having to draw up the insulin and worry about air bubbles and getting the exact amount.. but like someone else said, you can't do half or .25 units on them.
    Mom to Olliver (T1D - dx 2/22/13. Humalog and Lantis injections) and Emi.

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