What are Insulin Injectors?

Eugene Mar, BSc (Pharm), Pharmacist, discusses insulin injectors.

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Eugene Mar, BSc (Pharm), Pharmacist, discusses insulin injectors.
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Video transcript

Featuring Eugene Mar, BSc (Pharm)

Video Title:What are Insulin Injectors? Duration: 2 minutes, 59 seconds

If insulin is prescribed by your physician, there are three main delivery-type of systems.

There is, of course, the insulin pump. For a lot of type 1 diabetics, for a younger, very active lifestyle, it’s appropriate for them. Then there’s, of course, the vial and the old-fashioned insulin syringe and needle combination, which can be a little bit harder, especially for young individuals.

The absolute easiest way that we’ve found is the insulin pen delivery. It’s really very simple to use and handle. It actually comes apart, just like a pen. It’s very simple. You can carry it around with you when you’re at work or at home and to the restaurant. So you just take it apart. You just open it up like that.

And then when your doctor orders the insulin, there’s going to be different kinds, but in this particular case it comes as a 3-mil cartridge out of a box, something like that. When you open up your cartridge, you just put it in. And you can’t actually put it in wrong because if you put it in the wrong way, it won’t fit properly.

So when you put it in and then you screw the parts together, then all you have to do is take an insulin needle. And that’s what you’ll be injecting yourself with. You just take off the little safety cover, attach the two parts together. And there’s a little thread, and you’re screwing them together. And then you take off the plastic safety cap, still having a little part of a cover on the needle. And now you’re exposing the needle tip, which you’ll be ultimately doing your injection with.

The very first time you put a cartridge in you might have to prime the cartridge, which means getting the insulin right up to the tip of the needle. If you’ve used the cartridge numerous times, you won’t have to worry about that.

To actually deliver the dosage, the doctor will give you the number – or your diabetic educator – depending on your blood sugar level what dose you need to deliver. And it’s a very simple matter of turning the device so that you can see the actual number, or the actual insulin number, of units that you’re administering that dose.

When you have the right dose, then it’s just a matter of taking the insulin and bringing it up to your tissue. It is a subcutaneous injection, and your doctor, or your pharmacist or your diabetic educator can help teach you, but it’s very simple.

You just pinch up a little bit of the skin, and then at a 90-degree angle, you insert it, press the dose in, making sure that the needle is still in the skin, for about three seconds and then removing, and then that’s your insulin dose. After that, you just want to make sure that you remove the needle safely and then inserting it into your sharps container. And now your cartridge and pen are ready for your next dose.

If you need to learn more about your insulin-delivery system, in this case the pen needle, please ask your pharmacist for information. And they can walk through with you a step-by-step process to make sure that you understand every part of your insulin care. If you need more information about your actual insulin dose and your diabetes care, of course, ask your physician or your diabetic educator.

Presenter: Mr. Eugene Mar, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pharmacist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.