Reusing insulin pen needles or lancets...a big no no


Insulin users and diabetic patients will not be strangers to pen needles and lancets, as they use them almost daily to check their sugar levels, and to inject insulin into their body.

Because pen needles and lancets are not free, a lot of Malaysian patients will opt to REUSE these needles. This will indeed save cost, but "at what cost?"

Typically, a pen needle is being sold for around RM0.60-0.80 per piece, while genuine brand lancets can be sold for around RM0.30. While reusing needles can bring down this cost in half or more, we want to draw your attention to the picture below.

The reason why modern needles and lancets are practically painless is because they are exceptionally thin--some as thin as 0.22mm in diameter. This thinness also makes it a lot more bendable then you think. Typically, after even the 1st use, the tip of the needle will be slightly bent, creating a tiny fish hook at the end. Imagine this fish hook entering your flesh and coming back will cause some local damage no doubt.

But when you reuse it more often, as the picture shows, even the smooth surface of the needle can become rough and edgy, making it almost like you're inserting a rusty saw into your skin. Of course, the risk of infection is something to keep in mind too, as the needle has been tainted with the patient's blood. Bacteria can grow on this readily.

Therefore, it is best to limit the number of times you reuse a pen needle, and if at all possible, do not reuse it at all.

Currently, the pen needle that is the most pain free is called Nanopass, by Terumo. It is only 4mm long, and 0.22mm wide. It also requires the least force needed to penetrate our skin.


As for lancets, you can consider Johnson & Johnson's OneTouch UltraSoft Lancets for it's reliability and relatively cheap price.