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Non Insulin Pen Devices for Diabetes


What do I need to know about pen devices?

A pen is a device used to inject diabetes medicines. The pen contains a cartridge of diabetes medicine. The medicine in the pen helps control your blood sugar levels. Some medicines may also help you maintain or lose weight. The pen may be used with or without an insulin pen to control your diabetes.

How do I get the medicine ready to use?

  • Check the label. Check that you have the correct medicine. Also check the expiration date. Use a new pen if the expiration date has passed.
  • Check the color of the medicine. The medicine in the cartridge should be clear, colorless, and free of particles or clumps. Use a new pen if the medicine is cloudy or has particles in it.

How do I get the pen ready to use?

  • Remove a new pen from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you use it. Medicine should be injected at room temperature.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. This will help decrease your risk for an infection.
  • Remove the cap from the pen. Wipe the needle attachment area with an alcohol swab.
  • Attach a needle to the pen. Remove the tab from the needle. Do not remove the outer cap on the needle. Push the needle straight onto the pen. Turn the needle clockwise until you cannot turn it more. Make sure the needle is straight.
  • Remove the needle caps. Remove the outer cap and save. Remove the inner cap and throw it away.
  • Remove air from the pen. Air may cause pain during injection. Follow this step only when you prepare a new pen. Turn the dial to the flow check symbol or to your prescribed dose as directed. For most pens, you will hear a click for each unit of medicine that you dial. Hold the pen and point the needle up. Gently tap the pen to move air bubbles to the top of the pen. Press and hold the injection button. You should see a drop of medicine on the tip of the pen. If you do not see a drop, change the needle and repeat this step. If you do not see a drop after you repeat this step 3 times, use a new pen.
  • Select the correct dose on the pen. You may need to pull the injection button out before you turn it. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to do this. Turn the dial to the dose prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you cannot turn the dial, there may not be enough medicine left in the cartridge. Use a new pen if there is not enough medicine left.

Where do I inject medicine?

  • You can inject medicine into your abdomen, upper arm, and the front or side of the thigh.
    Insulin Injection Sites
  • Do not inject medicine into areas where you have a wound or bruising. Medicine injected into wounds or bruises may not get into your body correctly.
  • Inject your medicine at least 2 inches away from where you inject insulin.
  • Use a different area within the site each time you inject medicine. For example, inject medicine into different areas in your abdomen. Medicine injected into the same area can cause lumps, swelling, or thickened skin.

How do I inject medicine with a pen?

  • Clean the skin where you will inject the medicine. You can use an alcohol pad or a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Let the area dry before you inject. This will decrease pain.
  • Grab a fold of your skin. Gently pinch the skin and fat between your thumb and first finger.
  • Insert the needle straight into your skin. Do not hold the syringe at an angle. Make sure the needle is all the way into the skin. Let go of the pinched tissue.
  • Push the injection button to inject the medicine. Continue to press the injection button. Keep the needle in your skin for 10 seconds.
  • Pull out the needle. Replace the needle cap. Press on your injection site for 5 to 10 seconds. Do not rub. This will keep medicine from leaking out.
  • Remove the needle from the pen. Twist the capped needle counter clockwise. Place the needle in a heavy-duty laundry detergent bottle or a metal coffee can. The container should have a cap or lid that fits securely.
  • Replace the pen cap. Store the pen as directed.

What should I do with my used needles?

Ask your local waste authority if you need to follow certain rules for getting rid of your needles. Bring your used needles home with you when you travel. Pack them in a thick plastic or metal container with a secure lid.

How do I store the pen?

Do not store your pen with a needle attached. Follow the storage directions on the label or package insert that came with the pen. Unopened pens can be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Most pens can be opened and kept at room temperature. Store your pen in a cool, dry place. Do not keep your pen in direct sunlight or in your car. Throw away pens that have been frozen or exposed to temperatures above 85° F (30° C). If you travel, keep the pen in a cool pack.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You feel or see hard lumps in your skin where you inject your medicine.
  • You think you gave yourself too much or not enough medicine.
  • Your injections are very painful.
  • You see blood or clear fluid on your injection site more than once after you inject medicine.
  • You have questions about how to give the injection.
  • You cannot afford to buy your diabetes supplies.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

Learn more about Non Insulin Pen Devices for Diabetes

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.