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Non-insulin devices

There are a number of non-insulin based treatments for diabetes, some of which are injected into the body. This is usually done using a special injection device called a pen.

Tips for using your pen

  1. Use your pen exactly as advised by your doctor or diabetes health care team.
  2. If medicine leaks or spills when you are using your pen, do not take another dose. Monitor your blood sugar level until your next dose is due, then take that as normal.
  3. When injecting, inject under your skin (subcutaneous), either in your stomach area, upper leg, or upper arm. Do not inject into a vein or muscle.
  4. Remove the needle from the pen immediately after use, and dispose of safely in a sharps bin.
  5. Never inject through clothing – this can cause soreness and infection. It also blocks your view of the injection site, making it hard to tell if the injection has been successful.

Avoiding problems with your pen

  1. Always keep your pen and needles separate until use – do not carry the pen around loaded with a needle.
  2. Make sure you have a spare pen in case yours breaks or gets lost. If you have to use the spare, make sure you replace it immediately.
  3. Never attempt to use a pen that is not working properly - use your spare instead. If you don’t have one, contact your doctor or diabetes nurse or educator for advice.

Last reviewed: August 2015

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