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Insulin injection pens are quick and easy tools. Since their release in 1985, insulin pens have become a popular method of injection for their convenience and relatively painless application. Disposable insulin pens come with an already mixed cartridge of insulin (sometimes sold separately) making them less cumbersome than insulin syringes. This practicality also comes with reduced pain, as disposable pens are largely single-use.

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The more any given needle is used, the duller it becomes and more painful its usage will be. In addition to this, the risk of infection is greater as well as the chance that the needle will break or bend during the injection. With disposable insulin pen needles, the single injection will be clean and effortless.

Insulin Syringes

Insulin syringes are the more common method of injection in the United States. They are an older, more traditional technology. Unlike pens, they must be filled manually with the proper dosage. This involves more work, but also allows for the prospect of mixing insulin for desired dose. Of course, this should always be done with the consultation of a medical professional. Insulin syringes are also less expensive and as a result are widely used in countries where they are available without prescription. In the US, most states allow the purchase of insulin syringes without prescription, with a few exceptions.

States that regulate the sale of Insulin Syringes

May be sold without prescription in the amount of 10 syringes or less:
• Minnesota
• New Jersey
• New York
• Maine
• Connecticut
• New Hampshire

May be sold without prescription in the amount of 20 syringes or less:
• Illinois

May be sold without prescription in the amount of 30 syringes or less:
• California

Must be over the age of 16:
• Virginia

Must be over the age of 18:
• New Hampshire
• Delaware
• Massachusetts
• New Jersey

Proof of diabetes diagnosis required:
• Nevada
• Maryland

Needle Size Variation

Deciding upon the gauge and length of the needle size for purchase of insulin syringes and insulin pen needles should involve a professional recommendation from your doctor. The type of needle that you should buy will vary depending on age, weight, and insulin dose. Needle gauge size is inversely proportional to the width of the actual needle, meaning the higher the gauge of the needle, the smaller the thickness of the needle it actually is, for example, a 32g needle will be thinner than a 28g needle. Here at Total Diabetes Supply, we offer needles in the gauges:
• 32g
• 31g
• 30g
• 29g
• 28g

The lengths of the needles are traditionally measured in millimeters (mm) or fractions of inches. Human skin on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and upper-arms is averagely 2mm (or 5/64”) thick. As a result, diabetic adults of an average build generally utilize needles around the size of 4-6mm (5/32”-15/64”). Here at Total Diabetes Supply, we offer needles in the sizes:
• 12mm (1/2")
• 8mm (5/16")
• 6mm (15/64")
• 4mm (5/32")

Injection Site

Because average skin thickness generally does not vary in the common injection sites, the needle gauge and length you decide upon is normally one-size-fits-all. Ask your doctor where injection would be best for you. The common injection sites are: abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and upper-arms. Injection in the abdomen is generally the fastest-acting as it is the most efficient location of insulin absorbance. Injection into the forearms is inadvisable as you may damage muscle, being as there is normally not much fat covering it. The best technique for avoiding injecting muscle is to gather skin and fat between your fingers and inject the folds.