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Short Needles are Better for Kids and Teens

When B-D came out with short needles a few years ago, kids were especially happy. The new needles were thinner and shorter than previous needles and therefore made injections must less uncomfortable. A recent study looked at use of these short needles in kids with diabetes and demonstrated that short needles are better for kids and teens because they reduce the risk of injecting the insulin into the muscle.

Since insulin is absorbed differently from muscle and subquetaneous tissue, variation in injection depth can cause otherwise unexplained blood sugars readings. Previous studies cited in this study showed that intramuscular injection increases the risk of hypoglycemia. Also, in a previous study by the same team showed that kids with diabetes who use long needles (12.7 mm) quite frequently inject into muscle, even if they pinch up their skin as taught in many diabetes centers. Kids with a larger body mass index (BMI) had fewer intramuscular injections.

Using ultrasound during an injection, the research team found that injections using syringes with 8 mm needles were intramuscular 38% of the time, compared with 86% of the time for 12.7 mm needles. All injections were given straight in (perpendicular) after pinching up the skin.

The researchers concluded that almost all slim and normal-weight kids with diabetes inject intramuscularly when they use 12.7 mm needles, and that using 8 mm needles significantly reduces, but does not eliminate, intramuscular injections.

From Short Needles (8 mm) Reduce the Risk of Intramuscular Injections in Children with Type 1 Diabetes (Diabetes Care 22:1621-1625, 1999).

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Posted 6 November 1999

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Last Updated: Thursday February 27, 2014 19:28:21
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