Choice of needle

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Insulin injection - choice of needle

What is the right pen needle length for me?

One of the most important things in insulin administration is the sensible choice of a needle. Today, you can select between different pen needle lengths. This decision affects the technique you will use to administer insulin. Find out which length feels most comfortable for you and make your choice.

Size does matter

It makes a difference whether you use a long needle or the shortest pen needle available. Omnican® fine pen needles come in different lengths. In general, everyone can use an Omnican® fine 4 millimeter. Children and very thin persons should pinch up for the injection.(10)

If you prefer a longer pen needle nevertheless, you can opt for the Omnican® fine 6 or 8 millimeter.

 

Injection technique

Your choice of needle and the site which you inject into define the injection angle and whether to pinch up.(3,4) If you use a long needle or if you are a rather thin person with accordingly thin fatty tissue, a pinch up is recommended. This applies to young children as well.(10)

How to pinch up

  • Use thumb, index finger and possibly the middle finger.
  • Pull skin and fatty tissue carefully away from the muscle.
  • Do not squeeze too hard.
  • Hold the pinch up as long as you keep the needle in.

Always pinch up when using needles longer than 6 millimeters. Children should do this even when using 4 millimeter needles.(10) Usually, pen needles are inserted at a 90-degree angle.

Choose your combination

Choose your combination

The quick finder below shows you which injection technique – whether to pinch up and which angle to use – is recommended for which needle: Because your choice of needle determines whether to pinch up and which injection angle to use.(10,11,12,13)

 

Recommendations for adults 

ADULTS  Abdomen  Thighs  Buttocks 
4 mm to 6 mm

without pinch up

90° 

without pinch up

90°

without pinch up

90°

8 mm to 12 mm

with pinch up

90°

with pinch up

90°

with pinch up

90°

 

Recommentations for children and slim adults 

CHILDREN Abdomen  Thighs  Buttocks 
4 mm and 5 mm 

with pinch up

90° 

with pinch up

90°

with pinch up

90°

6 mm

with pinch up

90° or

without pinch up

45° 

with pinch up

90°

with pinch up

90°

8 mm 

with pinch up

45°

with pinch up

45°

with pinch up

45°

10 mm and 12 mm

not recommended

not recommended

not recommended

Tips

Tips: choice of needle

✔ You decide which needle feels most comfortable for you.

✔ Everyone can use 4 millimeter pen needles.

✔ Always pinch up when using needles longer than 6 millimeters.

✔ In general, pen needles are inserted at a 90-degree angle.

✔ Just keep in mind to always include your diabetes team in your decision.

 

Sources

3. Frid A. et al., New Insulin Delivery Recommendations, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, September 2016; 90(9):1231-1255.
4. Hirsch L. et al., Comparative glycemic control, safety and patient ratings for a new 4 mm 32G insulin pen needle in adults with diabetes, Current Medical Research & Opinion, June 2010;26(6):1531-1541..
10. Bergenstal R. et al., Safety and Efficacy of Insulin Therapy Delivered via a 4mm Pen Needle in Obese Patients With Diabetes, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, March 2015; 90(3):329-338.
11. Frid A. et al., New injection recommendations for patients with diabetes, Diabetes and Metabolism 2010;36:3-18.
12. Miwa T. et al., Comparison of the Effects of a New 32-Gauge x4-mm Pen Needle and a 32-Gauge x 6-mm Pen Needle on Glycemic Control, Safety, and Patient Ratings in Japanese Adults with Diabetes, Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, December 2012;14(12):1084-90.
13. Valentini M. et al., Efficacy, safety and acceptability of the new pen needle 33G x 4 mm. AGO 01 study, Current Medical Research & Opinion Vol. 31, No. 3, 2015, 487–492.

Find a list of all sources of the website area Insulin Injection here