Using an Insulin Pen
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: This video will teach you how to inject your insulin using an insulin pen. Please watch the entire video before injecting your insulin. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend that you inject insulin using an insulin pen to help you control your blood sugar level. Some pens come pre-filled with insulin and are disposable. When the insulin runs out, you can throw the pen away. Other pens are reusable and come with an insulin cartridge that you load into the pen before using it. One type of reusable pen called a smart insulin pen can help you manage insulin delivery. Smart insulin pens work with an app on your smartphone that can calculate and track your doses and send you alerts, reminders, and reports. Injecting insulin with an insulin pen involves choosing an injection site, preparing and priming your pen, and then injecting the insulin into your body. Your healthcare practitioner will tell you what type of insulin you need, as well as when and how much you need to inject. You will need alcohol wipes, your insulin pen, a new needle for each injection, and a sharps disposable container. A disposable prefilled insulin pen has the following parts, a pen cap, an insulin reservoir, a dosage indicator, a dosage dial, and an injection button. Insulin pen, needles have a protective pull tab, and an outer and inner needle cap. Be sure to follow the instructions that came with your insulin pen. Selecting the injection site. Before injecting your insulin, select the injection site on your body. The areas for insulin injection include the abdomen or belly, the thighs, the back of the upper arms, and the buttocks. When selecting the injection site, be sure you use a different spot each time you give yourself an injection. Leave at least one inch away from the last injection spot. Inject your insulin at least two inches from your belly button, and choose a spot, one inch or farther away from any scar or mole. Preparing the insulin pen. Step one, wash your hands with soap and water and then dry them. Step two, remove the cap from your insulin pen. Step three, if your insulin needs to be mixed, gently roll the pen between your hands. Then turn your pen up and down 10 times. Do not shake your pen because it may cause bubbles to form in your insulin. Before injecting yourself, check the insulin in your pen to make sure it is the type of insulin your doctor prescribed for you, it is not past the expiration date, it is not discolored, and the insulin is free of clumps. Step four, use an alcohol wipe to clean the end of the pen where the needle attaches. Step five, remove the pull tab from the needle. Be sure to use a new needle each time you inject insulin. Step six, with the outer and inner needle caps still in place, attach the needle to your pen according to the instructions, remove both the outer and inner needle caps. Do not touch the needle or allow it to touch any surface and do not use the needle if it is bent. A bent needle can block or prevent the insulin from coming out. Priming the insulin pen. Priming the insulin pen replaces the air in the needle with insulin and removes any clogs or blockages. This ensures that you receive all of the insulin you intend to inject. Step one, turn the dosage dial until you see two units displayed in the dosage indicator. Step two, hold the pen with the needle pointing up. Gently tap the end of the pen near the needle two or three times. Step three, press the injection button all the way in until a drop of insulin appears on the tip of the needle. You may need to repeat steps one through three before seeing insulin appear on the tip of the needle. If you need to set your pen down, make sure the needle does not touch anything. Injecting the insulin. Step one, turn the dosage dial to the number of insulin units you need to inject. Step two, clean your injection site with an alcohol wipe. Use a circular motion to clean a spot about two inches wide. Step three, if you replaced your pen's inner needle cap, remove it now. Step four, you may need to pinch a fold of skin in the cleaned injection spot to make sure the needle will only go into the fat layer under your skin. Ask your healthcare practitioner If you need to pinch up skin for your injection. Step five, quickly insert the pen's needle straight into your skin at a 90-degree angle. Make sure the whole needle enters your skin. Step six, push the pen's injection button all the way down to inject the insulin into the fat tissue beneath your skin. Slowly count to 10 before removing the needle to make sure you injected all of the insulin. Step seven, pull the needle straight out to remove it. Step eight, carefully put the outer calf back onto the needle, and then turn the cap needle to remove it from the pen. Make sure you remove the needle after each injection. Never store your insulin pen with the needle attached. Step nine, throw away the needle into your sharps disposal container. Never throw your needles directly into the trash. Contact your healthcare practitioner if you have questions about injecting your insulin or if your blood sugar level stays above or below your target range. To find out more about how to use an insulin pen, talk to your healthcare practitioner.