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How To Draw Up Insulin

AMBULATORY CARE:

Insulin

should be drawn up correctly and safely. This will help prevent problems such as infection or low or high blood sugar levels. Use the correct size insulin syringe to make sure you get the right dose of insulin. For example, you must inject U100 insulin with U100 syringes. A different syringe is needed for U500 insulin. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist will help you find the right size syringe. The syringe will have measurements in mL and units.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions about how to draw up insulin.
  • You cannot afford to buy your diabetes supplies.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

How to draw up 1 type of insulin into a syringe:

If you use only 1 type of insulin at a time, do the following:

  • Remove insulin from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you will use it. Inject insulin that is room temperature.
  • Wash your hands. This will help decrease your risk for an infection.
  • Gather your insulin supplies. Get your insulin bottle, syringe, and alcohol pads. Check the insulin bottle to make sure it is the right type and strength of insulin. Also check the expiration date. Do not use expired insulin. Rapid and short-acting insulin should be clear with no particles. Do not use the insulin if there are clumps or particles in it.
  • Gently mix intermediate or long-acting insulin. These must be mixed before they are given. Turn the bottle on its side and roll it between the palms of your hands. Do not shake the bottle. This can make the insulin clump together. You do not need to mix rapid or short-acting insulin.
  • Prepare the insulin bottle. Clean the top of the insulin bottle with an alcohol pad or cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
  • Pull air into the syringe. Remove the cap from the needle. Pull back on the plunger to draw in an amount of air that is equal to your insulin dose. Place the bottle on a hard surface. Push the needle into the bottle top and inject the air into the bottle. Leave the needle in the bottle. This helps keep the correct amount of pressure in the bottle. It also makes it easier to draw up the insulin.
  • Draw up the insulin into the syringe. Turn the bottle and syringe upside down. Pull back on the plunger. Fill the syringe with a little more than the insulin dose you need.
  • Check the syringe for air bubbles. If you see bubbles, hold the bottle and syringe with 1 hand. Tap the syringe with 1 finger on your other hand. This will make the air bubbles rise to the top of the syringe. Slowly push on the plunger just enough to move out air and extra insulin. Check the syringe for the correct amount of insulin.
  • Remove the needle from the bottle. Do not let the end of the needle touch anything. Inject the insulin as directed. If you need to recap the needle, place the cap on a table or hard surface. Slowly slide the needle into the cap.

How to draw up 2 types of insulin into a syringe:

If you use 2 types of insulin at one time, do the following:

  • Remove insulin from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you will use it. Inject insulin that is room temperature.
  • Wash your hands. This will help decrease your risk for an infection.
  • Gather your insulin supplies. Get your insulin bottle, syringe, and alcohol pads. Check the insulin bottle to make sure it is the right type and strength of insulin. Also check the expiration date. Do not use expired insulin. Rapid and short-acting insulin should be clear with no particles. Do not use the insulin if there are clumps or particles in it.
  • Determine the total amount of insulin you need. Add the number of units of each type of insulin together. For example you may need 6 units of intermediate-acting insulin and 5 units of short-acting insulin. That is a total of 11 units of insulin.
  • Gently mix intermediate or long-acting insulin. These must be mixed before they are given. Turn the bottle on its side and roll it between the palms of your hands. Do not shake the bottle. This can make the insulin clump together. You do not need to mix the rapid or short-acting insulin.
  • Prepare the insulin bottles. Clean the top of both insulin bottles with an alcohol pad.
  • Prepare the syringe. Remove the cap from the needle.
  • Inject air into the intermediate or long-acting insulin bottle. This insulin should be cloudy. Pull back the plunger on the syringe to draw in an amount of air that is equal to your long-acting insulin dose. Place the bottle on a hard surface. Push the needle through the top of the long-acting insulin bottle and inject air into the bottle. Do not draw the insulin into the syringe. Remove the empty syringe and needle from the bottle.
  • Inject air into the short-acting insulin bottle. This insulin should be clear. Pull the plunger back to draw in enough air to equal your short-acting insulin dose. Push the needle in through the top of the short-acting insulin bottle. Inject air into the short-acting insulin bottle. Leave the needle in the bottle.
  • Draw up the short-acting insulin first. Turn the bottle and syringe upside down. Pull the plunger to fill the syringe with just a little more than the insulin dose you need.
  • Check the syringe for air bubbles. If you see any bubbles, hold the bottle and syringe with 1 hand. Tap the syringe with 1 finger on your other hand. This will make the air bubbles rise to the top of the syringe. Slowly push on the plunger to move out air and extra insulin.
  • Remove the needle from the bottle. Recheck your dose.
  • Draw up the intermediate or long-acting insulin. Insert the needle into the bottle of long-acting insulin. Turn the bottle and syringe upside down. Slowly pull on the plunger to draw insulin into the syringe. Because the short-acting insulin dose is already in the syringe, pull the plunger to the total number of units you need.
  • Check for bubbles. Hold the bottle and syringe with 1 hand. Gently tap the syringe with 1 finger on your other hand. This will make them rise to the top. Do not push air into the bottle. This may cause you to push the mixed insulin into the bottle.
  • Remove the needle from the bottle. Do not let the end of the needle touch anything. Inject the insulin as directed. If you need to recap the needle, place the cap on a table or hard surface. Slowly slide the needle into the cap.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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