The likelihood that your medication will work as intended is greatest if you follow the description in these guidelines. The technique is the same, regardless of which type of diabetes you have. Always read the package insert recommendations concerning storage and handling of medicine.
In everyday life, you do not need to disinfect your skin prior to taking insulin or GLP-1. If you are hospitalised, it is recommended that you disinfect the skin first.
How to take your medication
- Select a 4 or 5 millimetre needle. Use a new needle each time.
- Attach the needle to the pen. Remove the outer and inner protective caps.
- Test the pen: Set the pen at 2 units. Hold the pen in a vertical position with the needle pointing upwards and press the button all the way through. When you see a droplet forming at the tip of the needle, the pen is ready for use. If you do not see a droplet at the tip of the needle, repeat the testing of the pen. Insulin pens must be tested each time, whereas the pen with GLP-1 only needs testing the first time.
- Now set the pen at the planned dose.
- Inject in a vertical position (90 degrees) into level skin. Do not push the pen so hard against your skin that it leaves an indentation on the skin.
- Push the button all the way through. To ensure that you receive your planned dose in its entirety, you must keep the button down and slowly count to at least 6 before retracting the needle.
- The needle is subsequently removed from the pen and thrown into a sharps container.
If you require a larger dose of insulin, your practitioner may recommend splitting the dose in two. In some cases, this may improve the uptake of insulin thus resulting in an improved effect.
The areas illustrated in the drawing above are the most commonly used areas for injecting insulin and GLP-1. With respect to insulin, however, the upper arm and the upper part of the buttocks can also be used. Discuss the place of injection with your practitioner.
If you repeatedly inject insulin or GLP-1 into the same area, there is a risk of infiltrates, callosity or hard areas in the fatty tissue. To avoid this, you can do the following:
- Change the place of injection every time you take insulin or GLP-1.
- Inject with at least 2 centimetres’ distance from the previous injection place.
- Use a new needle every time you take insulin or GLP-1.
If you suspect infiltrates, callosity or hard areas, you should avoid injection into this area and discuss the issue with your practitioner at your next visit.
Injection into a pinched-up fold of skin
If your BMI is below 18.5, or if your practitioner finds that you do not have much fatty tissue in the place of injection, you must inject into a fold of skin.
- Pinch up a fold of skin between thumb and index finger and inject the insulin vertically (90 degrees) into the top of the fold of skin (see illustration). Do not push the pen so hard against your skin that it leaves an indentation on the skin.
- The fold of skin is kept upwards until the needle is retracted.
- Subsequently, follow steps 2 and 3 in the section “Injection”.
- Unopened insulin and GLP-1 must be stored in the refrigerator door or in a box in the refrigerator.
- Insulin or GLP-1 pens in use are stored at room temperature and always with the cap on to protect the content against light.
- If the content of an insulin or GLP-1 pen has changed colour, passed the expiry date, or has been incorrectly stored (according to the package insert), it should be discarded.
- When the button in the pen has passed the last arrow, the pen should be discarded.
- Empty pens contain medicinal residues. They must therefore be handed in at the pharmacy for correct disposal.
- Sharps containers can be obtained at the pharmacy. Full sharps containers are handed in at the pharmacy together with the used pens.
- Very few insulin types need to be mixed or injected into a specific area.
IF IN DOUBT, contact your practitioner.
Read more on www.videncenterfordiabetes.dk
If you have questions or doubts, you are welcome to contact Sygeplejerådgivningen by telephone 39 68 08 00 on weekdays from 08:00-16:00.