Best Way To Take Insulin At Home

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Best Way To Take Insulin At Home

Many long standing Type 2 diabetes patients and Type 1 diabetes patients need to take daily insulin injections at home for maintaining their blood sugar level under control. Insulin is available in market in two injectable forms:  insulin vials or insulin pen (use & throw flex pen or re-fillable pen with cartridges).


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Where to inject insulin (Sites) ?

Insulin is injected subcutaneously, i.e just below the skin in fatty tissue. If insulin is injected deeper in muscles then it may get absorbed quickly and can lead to low sugars. Insulin should not be given in scars, moles, varicose veins, sites with broken blood vessels etc. as it may alter its absorption. Insulin injection site must be rotated each time to avoid lypodystrophy (Atleast take insulin injection an inch apart from previous site).

Sites where you can take insulin injection :

  1. Abdomen : this is the most preferable site for self administration since absorption of insulin is quicker and predictable. You can take insulin atleast two fingers width away from belly button.
  2. Thigh : This is second best site after abdomen for self administration of insulin injection. Top and outer aspect of thigh is preferred. Avoid injecting insulin on inner side of thigh.
  3. Arms : Normally when somebody else is administrating insulin to diabetes patient it can be given on outer back aspect of arm away from shoulder and elbow in fatty tissue.
  4. Buttocks : Upper outer padded part (wallet area) is preferred spot.

How to take or inject insulin ?

Insulin is stored in refrigerator  (In door shelf or tray but not in ice box part). Take insulin vial or pen out of refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (10-15 mins). Mix insulin via rolling insulin vial in your palms, do not shake insulin vial. Bolus and premix insulin should be taken before food (Regular insulin like actrapid and huminsulin R or premix like human mixtard 30/70 or huminsulin 30/70 should be taken 20-30 mins before food, Incase of rapid acting analogues like Humalog, Novarapid, Novomix 30, Humalog 25/75 etc can be taken just prior to meal)

Steps to follow for injecting insulin via Insulin vial

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before taking insulin.
  2. Hold the syringe in upright position (Needle on top) and pull the plunger down until the tip of the plunger reaches the measurement equal to the dose you will inject.
  3. Remove cap of insulin vial & syringe, push the needle into the stopper and push the plunger down. The air replaces the amount of insulin you will withdraw.
  4. Keeping the needle in the vial, turn them upside down. Pull the plunger down until the black tip of the plunger reaches the correct dosage on the syringe.
  5. If there are bubbles in the syringe, tap it gently and the bubbles will rise to the top. Push the syringe to release the bubbles back into the vial. Pull the plunger down again until you reach the correct dose.
  6. Keep insulin vial down and hold a syringe like a pen
  7. Pinch the skin and Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle.If you are injecting into a site with less fat, injecting at a 45-degree angle is fine. Push the plunger all the way down and wait for 10 seconds before removing the needle.

Watch the video for more detail understanding of insulin vial & syringe administration technique :

video credits : CEMM

Steps to follow for injecting insulin via Insulin pen :

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before taking insulin.
  2. Clean the site with cotton where insulin is injected.
  3. Remove the top cover part of insulin pen and attach needle to insulin pen by rotating it on upper side.
  4. Fix the number on dial on bottom side of pen equivalent to dose of insulin you need to inject. (normally 1 click = 1 unit)
  5. Pinch the skin and insert the needle at a 90-degree angle. Press the bottom part button of the pen till the dialer resets to Zero Again.
  6. Hold it for 10 secs till complete amount of insulin gets injected.
  7. Loose the skin and remove needle slowly.

Watch the video for more detail understanding of insulin pen administration technique :

video credits :


If you get any problems while self administration of insulin, consult your diabetes specialist immediately. Improper administration of insulin may lead to complications like hypoglycemia, lypodystrophy etc.

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Awareness is prevention!

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