Am I Using My Insulin Pen Correctly? - CARiNG Pharmacy

Am I Using My Insulin Pen Correctly?

This article seeks to address common concerns of insulin pen users.

It is painful when I inject!
  1. Choose a 4mm needle. If the insulin pen needle used for the injection is too long, the needle may bypass the fatty tissue and hit the muscle tissue underneath instead. Hitting the muscle tissue will result in pain. A 4mm pen needle is long enough to enable the insulin to be delivered into the fatty tissue yet short enough to avoid reaching the muscle tissue.
  2. Pinch up approach. To avoid the needle hitting the muscle tissue, pinch the fatty tissue upwards before injecting. This prevents the needle from hitting the muscle tissue during the injection.
I’ve tried those approaches yet it still hurts…
  1. Wait for the alcohol rub to dry before injecting. It’s great that you swab before injecting. However alcohol may cause a stinging sensation on a wound. Let the alcohol dry first before you inject the insulin.
  2. Cold insulin causes discomfort. An insulin pen that is opened can be stored at room temperature. If you keep it in a fridge, let the insulin return to room temperature before injecting. 
Why am I having “lumps” on the site of injection?
  1. Rotate site of injection. These lumps are known as lipohypertrophies. It usually feels bumpy as if there is a scar below the skin. These “lumps” may also result in irregular absorption of insulin. To prevent this, always rotate the site of injection.
  2. Use a new pen needle every time. A reused needle is blunt as compared to a new needle. Injecting a reused needle may result in pain. Always use a sterile and sharp needle when injecting. This practice can also prevent skin infections and reduce risk of wrong insulin dosing.
Why is insulin leaking from the pen?
  1. Do not leave the pen needle on overnight. Insulin is a liquid that may expand or shrink in response to the change of temperature. Leaving the insulin needle on the insulin pen especially in a hot environment may cause a leakage as the insulin liquid expands and leaks out through the pen needle. Dispose the pen needle in a sharps bin after use.
  2. Remove after 10 seconds. Removing the needle from the site of injection immediately may result in an incomplete delivery of insulin. Wait 10 seconds after injecting the needle before slowly removing the needle.


How do I use a pen needle?


  1. How to make your insulin therapy as comfortable as possible. (2018) BBraun. Web link PDF file:
  2. Clinical Evidence Folder. The advantages of short pen needles. (2018) BBraun. Web link PDF file:

Image References: BBraun