Using Pen Needles Safely

FDA issues recommendations on the safe use of pen needles to inject medicine

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication regarding the use of pen needles.

Those who need to inject medication, such as certain brands of insulin, use pen needles to do so. Pen needles are used with pen injectors.

There are standard pen needles and safety pen needles, and the two types differ in how they are used.

Typically, standard pen needles have an outer cover and an inner needle cover, and both are to be removed before injecting the medication. On the other hand, safety pen needles have a removable outer cover and a fixed inner needle shield that is not to be removed before injecting the medication.

The FDA is highlighting this difference. The difference between standard and safety pen needles can cause confusion about proper and safe use. As a result, patients may not get the medication they need.

In fact, the FDA has reported some cases in which patients were using standard pen needles to inject insulin but did not remove the inner needle cover as they should have. In these cases, the needle could not enter the skin, meaning the patients did not get the insulin they needed and therefore had high blood sugar.

Based on these concerns, the FDA recommended the following:

  • Look at each new box of pen needles you get and make sure the needles are the same type as the ones you were trained to use.
  • Be sure you understand how to properly use the pen needles, as well as the proper way to inject your medication.
  • If you notice that your blood sugar levels remain high even after insulin injections, speak with your health care provider.

Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about pen needles.

Last Updated:
October 2, 2018