CDC Issues Clinical Reminder on Single Use of Insulin Pens

The CDC has issued a clinical reminder that insulin pens should never be used for more than one person.

In the reminder, the CDC says it has become "increasingly aware of reports of improper use of insulin pens," which puts people at risk for infection with pathogens such as hepatitis viruses and HIV.

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Insulin pens are made to be used multiple times for one patient with a new needle for each injection. Regurgitation of blood into the insulin cartridge can occur after injection, causing a risk of bloodborne pathogen transmission if the pen is used for multiple people, even when the needle is changed. Use of insulin pens for more than one person should be considered a "never event," according to the CDC.

The CDC made the following recommendations for healthcare professionals:
•    Clearly label insulin pens with the person's name or other identifying information to ensure that the correct pen is used only on the correct individual.
•    Review the facility's policies and educate staff on safe use of insulin pens and similar devices.
•    If reuse does occur, promptly notify exposed persons and offer appropriate follow-up, including bloodborne pathogen testing.

Related Articles on Safe Injection Practices:

CDC: 9 Key Recommendations for Safe Injection Practices in Ambulatory Care Settings
Patient Safety Tool: 5 Safe Injection Practices Posters

Safe Injection Practices Checklist: 12 Critical Rules to Follow

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