Study prompts formal recommendations for insulin injections

A large study found many diabetic individuals who self-administer insulin are incorrectly injecting the treatment, prompting experts to create formal recommendations, Reuters reported.

Of the 13,289 people at 423 medical centers surveyed in 2014 and 2015, researchers found 10 percent of respondents never received formal injection instructions. In addition, more than 60 percent of respondents said their primary care physicians had not reviewed instructions with them recently.

About 200 experts developed formal recommendations for injecting insulin using the survey results.  

Here are five recommendations.

1. Patients should use the shortest needle possible, as they are "safe, effective and less painful," according to the report. The shortest insulin pen needles are 4 millimeters and the shortest syringe needles are 6 millimeters. Only half of the survey respondents were using the shortest needles available.

2. To avoid lipohypertrophy — small lumps that a can develop when injections sites are used repeatedly — researchers recommended patients rotate injection sites.

3. Researchers recommended single use of pen and syringe needles.

4. Experts stated a lack of insulin can present psychological challenges, which need to be addressed for diabetic patients to manage the disease. 

5. Insulin users should be taught how to properly dispose of needles and other sharps to decrease risk of infection, experts said.

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