July 6


How to Inject Insulin Using an Insulin Pen

By Gabriela

July 6, 2021

An insulin pen is actually a device that is used to inject insulin. This pen has a cartridge of insulin, and it might be disposable or reusable. We might need a new pen for each kind of insulin we use.

Most of those that have diabetes need to use insulin in order to keep their blood sugar in a good range.

For most people, the first time is very scary. But the truth is that these insulin shots are not painful since the needles are thin and short. Below we will explain how to give a shot of insulin using an insulin pen.

Get the Pen Ready to Use

The first thing to do is to take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before using it.

Remember that insulin always needs to be injected at room temperature. The next thing to do is wash our hands with water and soap, or use a hand rub with alcohol.

Once our hands are clean we need to take out the cap of the pen and with the help of a cotton swab wipe the needle attachment area. After this, the next thing we need to do is to put the needle in the pen. We need to remove the tab, but not the outer cap.

Simply push it into the pen and turn it clockwise until we notice that we can turn no more. It is very important for the needle to be straight.

After that, we must remove the caps of the needle and the outer cap. We need to take out the inner cap, and we can throw it away since we won’t need it anymore.

We must make sure to remove all the air from this pen since the air might lead to pain during the injection. Next, turn the dial to 2 units. We should know that most insulin pens, click for each unit of insulin.

Remember to firmly hold the pen and ensure to point the needle up. Then gently and carefully tap the pen in order to move the air bubbles so they can get to the top of this pen and then press the injection button.

A drop of insulin should appear on the tip, in case of no drop we need to replace the needle with a new one and do this step one more time.

In case of no drop after the third time, we try this step, we should take a new pen. We need to pick the correct dose and turn the dial to the no of units necessary to inject. The pointer found on the side of the pen needs to line up with the needed dose.

We can turn the dial in either direction in order to pick the correct dose. We shouldn’t pick a bigger dose than the no. of units that are left in the cartridge.

In case we do not have enough insulin, we need to insert another disposable pen or cartridge. Or inject part of the dose with the left insulin. The next thing to do is use a new pen or cartridge to inject the remaining part of the dose.

Where to Inject Insulin

We should know that we may inject insulin into our side or front of the thigh, abdomen, hip, upper arm, and buttocks.

Furthermore, we should know that insulin works fastest if we inject it into the abdomen. Bear in mind not to inject insulin into places where there are bruisings or wounds.

Remember to use a different place each time when using insulin. For instance, we can inject it into different places in the abdomen. Insulin injected into the same place might lead to thickened skin, lumps, or swelling.

How to Inject Insulin with a Pen

The first thing we need to do is clear the area where we plan to inject the insulin. For that, we might use a cotton swab for alcohol or an alcohol pad. Once we do that, we must make sure that the area is dry before we inject the insulin.

The next thing we need to do is grab a fold of skin. We need to pinch the fat and skin between the first finger and thumb and insert the needle into the skin.

We must make sure not to hold the syringe at an angle and that the needle is all the way in the skin. Then let go of the pinched tissue and push the button which is on top of the pen. We need to keep the needle in place for around 10 seconds.

After that time passes, we need to pull it out and replace the needle cap simply. Then press onto the injection are from 5 to 10 seconds, but do not rub. Take out the needle and turn the capped needle counterclockwise.

We need to put the needle in a metal coffee can or laundry detergent bottle. No matter what we choose, it is important for the container to have a lid or cap that will fit securely. Replace the cap of the pen and store it.

How to Store an Insulin Pen

We should not store the pen with the needle. On the label, there are storage directions that we need to follow.

Unopened pens might be stored in the fridge until we use them. Most insulin pens need to be kept at room temperature, so make sure to store them in a dry and cool place.

We need to throw away pens that have been exposed to temperatures above 30° C or 85° F. When we travel we must make sure to keep them in a cool pack.

On how to use the insulin pen to feel free to consult a pharmacist, doctor, or nurse.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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