Do You Need a Diabetes Emergency Survival Kit?

September 1st, 2011

Essential Preparedness Products (EPP) is marketing an emergency survival kit designed specifically for diabetics. The Diabetic med-Ecase is light weight, watertight, airtight, crush resistant, and will float in water.

The survival kit comes complete with glucose tablets, alcohol swabs, a syringe container, an ice pack, a log book to track insulin injections, diabetes medication bottles and a 7-day pill dispenser. Water purification tablets can be purchased as an add-on..

The rugged yellow case has customized compartments for insulin vials, insulin syringes, insulin pens, blood sugar meters, glucagon, and blood and ketone testing stripes. Users fill them with their own personal diabetes medication and supplies.

EPP focuses on emergency preparedness for those with serious medical conditions, creating customized med-Ecases containing necessary medications and supplies in preparation for an emergency, natural disaster, or just travel. Their Diabetic med-Ecase can be ordered online through the EPP website for $69.99.

Crippling Condition Associated With Diabetes Often Misdiagnosed

September 2nd, 2011

A new article explains symptoms and treatments for Charcot foot, a form of localized osteoporosis linked to diabetes that causes the bones to soften and break, often resulting in amputation.

"Even though it was first described in 1883, the diagnosis and successful treatment of Charcot foot continue to be a challenge because this syndrome is not widely known or understood by the broader medical profession," said Lee C. Rogers, D.P.M., co-director of the Amputation Prevent Center at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, CA.

"Charcot foot is now considered to be an inflammatory syndrome most often seen in patients with diabetes which can be successfully treated in its early stages." To read the full article on this little known diabetes complication on ScienceDaily and to view a picture of this crippling condition, CLICK HERE.

Does Using Long Acting Insulin Increase Cancer Risk?

September 6th, 2011

long acting insulin

According to the FDA, five recent studies of a possible link between insulin glargine (marketed as Lantus long acting insulin) and the growth of cancerous cells have failed to shed more light on the subject. Calling the studies "inconclusive", the FDA said it was continuing to work with the long acting insulin manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventus, to determine whether there is an increased risk of cancer for users of insulin glargine.

The concerns arose because Lantus' ability to act as a long acting insulin arises from its prolonged interaction with the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR). IGF-IR overactivity has been linked to many types of cancer. That begs the question - could long acting insulin glargine be associated with cancer because of its continual interfacing with IGF-IR?

While the debate about the possible cancer risk associated with long acting insulin continues, the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and two similar European governing bodies are reassuring insulin dependent diabetics that there is no need to change their insulin glargine treatment.

To read more about the controversial long-acting Lantus insulin clinical studies on, >CLICK HERE.<

Mysterious Fetal Tissue Helps Grow Insulin Producing Beta Cells

September 7th, 2011

A somewhat mysterious soft tissue found in the fetus during early development in the womb plays a pivotal role in the formation of mature beta cells, the sole source of the body's insulin. This discovery, made by scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M University, may lead to new ways of addressing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

As reported in the journal PLoS Biology, during the late stages of development in mice, this fetal tissue -- called the mesenchyme -- secretes chemicals. Those chemicals enable insulin-producing beta cells to mature and expand. Remove this mesenchyme tissue, the researchers found, and the mice do not grow their full complement of beta cells.

This work provides researchers with an immediate tool for research and diabetes drug discovery. By identifying the chemicals that this tissue secretes, scientists may be able to create new beta cells in the body or in the test tube - something currently beyond the reach of medical science that could potentially eliminate the need for insulin injections.

To read the full article on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System Discontinued in the US

September 8th, 2011

Abbott Diabetes Care is alerting its diabetic customers that it has been forced to discontinue its FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System in the US. The FreeStyle Navigator System will still be available in seven other national markets.

The discontinuation results from supply interruptions that affected the company's ability to provide American customers with new system kits or replacement components. Abbott stresses that there were no safety issues with the continuous glucose monitoring system.

Abbott plans to help its FreeStyle Navigator customers transition to the three remaining continuous glucose monitoring systems on the market. To read the discontinuation notice on the Abbott Diabetes Care website, and get information on how Abbott plans to help its customers with the transition to other monitoring systems, >Click Here.<

Newly Identified Protein May Play Role in Diabetes

September 9th, 2011

A study out of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has identified a protein that may play an important role in diabetes. The protein, CDP138, helps muscle and fat cells properly insert glucose transporters in their outer membranes. This new understanding of glucose metabolism may shed light on the impaired insulin action and glucose metabolism behind diabetes.

The results have been published in Cell Metabolism.

Insulin Jet Injectors Evolving

September 12th, 2011

Despite lackluster success to date, the market research firm Kalorama is predicting that the worldwide market for jet injectors will double over the next five years. Jet injectors are a needleless drug delivery system that distribute a fine jet of medication under such high pressure that it is able to penetrate the skin.

"Needle-free devices have come a long way to the present state and are playing an increasingly important role in the novel drug delivery technology markets," Kalorama drug delivery analyst Mary Anne Crandall wrote in a report titled Needle-Free Drug Delivery Markets. She predicts that their ease of use, safety and cost effectiveness, combined with evolving technology, will result in a future boom in jet injector sales.

"Needle free has been a part of insulin marketing for some time," says Crandall, "And now we are also seeing it with vaccines and [other] treatments." There are now over a dozen FDA approved needle-free jet injectors on the market, most designed for specific purposes such as administering vaccines, delivering hormone treatments, and administering growth hormone to children.

Bioject's VitaJet has traditionally been marketed as an insulin jet injector, although it is now being promoted for other home injection applications. There are insulin jet injectors specially designed for children, and even one for dogs and cats, the Zoe Pet Jet.

There are still some limitations to widespread usage of jet injectors. For example, jet injectors can't efficiently administer drugs intramuscularly. They are well suited to delivering subcutaneous insulin doses, but existing jet injectors are cumbersome compared to an insulin syringe or insulin pen, and require maintenance.

Currently, cost is also an issue, although Crandall believes prices will erode in the near future, spurring further sales. While initially expensive, jet injectors are designed to last for years. The pressurized gas cartridges needed to power many jet injectors (others use a spring loaded device) are an ongoing expense.

The number one issue may be discomfort. Although some diabetics find a needleless insulin injection quite tolerable, many find the pressure required to force the insulin through the skin painful. Some report bruising, swelling and even bleeding at the injection site, although that may be the result of an incorrect injector setting.

There are some obvious benefits to a needle free jet injection system, the most apparent being the option for the needle phobic to avoid needles. Other advantages are the speed and ease of use, safety (no bent or broken needles, or "sharps" to dispose of ), less risk of contamination, a better spread of insulin into the subcutaneous tissue, no scar tissue build up at the injection site, and no need to keep buying syringes.

"Needle-free jet injection devices can and should play a major role in solving the problems of needle stick injuries and needle phobia in the United States," according to Crandall. With the industry aware of and working on the drawbacks of the promising drug delivery devices, Crandall is probably right.

Successful Pilot Study for Implanted Continuous Glucose Monitor

September 13th, 2011

Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.

The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.

The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.

Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. "Based on the promising results obtained," says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, "We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future."

The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.

New Disposable Insulin Delivery Device About to Hit the Market

September 14th, 2011

Valeritas, an American medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative drug delivery solutions, is poised to begin marketing a new disposable insulin delivery device called the V-Go Disposable Insulin Delivery Device.

The V-Go is designed to provide an alternative to multiple daily insulin injections for adult type 2 diabetics using basal-bolus insulin therapy. The V-Go delivers a continuous preset rate of basal insulin (20, 30 or 40 units of insulin per 24 hours) and allows for on demand bolus dosing at mealtimes (in two unit increments up to 36 units).

Users fill the V-Go with their desired insulin dose using an included disposable filling accessory, the V-Go EZ Fill. The small, lightweight (about 1 ounce when full) device delivers insulin subcutaneously for 24 hours, after which it is replaced with a new one. The discreet device is worn under a patient's clothing, and should not be exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures, although it can be submerged in up to three feet of water.

The non-electronic V-Go was tested using both Humalog insulin lispro and Novolog (insulin aspart), and achieved FDA approval at the end of 2010. The company has been pursuing financing to market it ever since, and has just announced that it has raised $150 million to bring the V-Go Disposable Insulin Delivery Device to market.

"Millions of adult patients suffer from type 2 diabetes and require insulin," says Valeritas CEO Kristine Peterson, "We believe the V-Go will be an important treatment option to assist in the management of their diabetes." To visit the V-Go site and to sign up for email updates on the availability of the innovative insulin delivery device, >Click Here.<

International Diabetes Federation Releases Startling Statistics

September 15th, 2011

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has just released some startling new figures on the escalating diabetes epidemic. Global studies reveal that a staggering 366 million people across the world are dealing with diabetes. The disease is responsible for 4.6 million deaths a year and related health cares costs have reached $465 billion in US dollars.

"IDF's latest Atlas data are proof indeed that diabetes is a massive challenge the world can no longer afford to ignore", stressed the president of the IDF, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, "In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The clock is ticking for the world's leaders - we expect action from their High-Level Meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upwards trajectory."

The IDF's message to world leaders is that investing in research now will result in savings in the future, reducing the enormous and still growing burden of non-communicable diseases on their health systems. This research should include developing and evaluating approaches for building local health care capacity, as well as integrating diabetes care and services with primary health care services.

The IDF announced the shocking diabetes statistics at the Lisbon meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes,a week ahead of the UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. The hope is that world leaders will finally face up to the challenge posed by diabetes, as well as cancer, heart andchronic respiratorydiseases.

As this will be only the second UN Summit in history to deal with a health-related issue, the global diabetes community is expecting international political leaders to commit to concrete actions and measurable targets to tackle diabetes mellitus and other non-communicable diseases, as they did at the ground-breaking High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2001, said the IDF statement.

Insulin Nasal Spray Tested as an Alzheimer's Treatment

September 16th, 2011

insulin nasal spray

Ateam of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) researchers were intrigued by studies that suggested that low levels of insulin in the brain could contribute to Alzheimer's disease. The researchers, led by Dr. Suzanne Craft, decided to test the benefits of restoring normal insulin levels in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Insulin is an important hormone which plays a major role in turning blood sugar into energy for cells. A lack of insulin, or an inability to properly use it, results in diabetes. Diabetes is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's, although the connection is not yet clear.

Alzheimer's is a disease in which cognitive functioning declines over time, causing progressive memory loss, loss of motor and language skills, impaired reasoning, emotional instability, and eventually full-blown dementia. The disease is associated with abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques.

The VA team used an insulin nasal spray that could deliver insulin rapidly and directly to the brain without increasing insulin levels elsewhere in the body. They recruited 104 adults with mild amnestic cognitive impairment or mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. They divided the participants into three groups, with one group receiving 20 international units (IU) of insulin, one receiving 40 IU, and the third receiving an inactive saline placebo. The insulin dose or placebo was delivered daily through a nasal spray for four months.

Memory, cognition and functioning ability tests were conducted on the participants both before and after the four month period. The patients in the treated groups showed an increase in brain glucose metabolism following insulin therapy. Both insulin doses improved the patients' general cognition and functioning about 20%, and the 20 IU insulin dose also improved memory. The group receiving the placebo showed a slight decline in cognitive abilities. The treatment did not result in any major side effects, although some participants did report a mild headache or a runny nose.

Insulin appears to protect the brain against the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, the protein behind the brain plaques present in Alzheimer's. It also prevents the formation of a toxic form of the protein tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer's found in the cerebrospinal fluid. Insulin also promotes cell repair and growth, which may also help combat degenerative brain disease.

VA Chief Research and Development Officer Dr. Joel Kupersmith says, "VA researchers are exploring a number of possible approaches to help prevent of effectively treat this devastating disease, and these are among the most promising results to date." The research is even more important and encouraging because there is currently no effective treatment to delay or treat Alzheimer's disease.

There are a great many unanswered questions about the connection between insulin and Alzheimer's, and it's still premature to consider insulin a new treatment. Researchers still don't know much of the daily insulin injections required by many diabetics gets into the brain, and what effects it may have in the brain of the average diabetic.

Researchers are calling for further studies to explore the use of insulin to treat Alzheimer's, and to hopefully establish an optimal insulin dosage and dosing schedule. Any treatment which could improve the lives of the estimated 5.4 million Americans that suffer from Alzheimer's and their caregivers can not come soon enough.

Diabetic Emergency: Treating Hypoglycemia with Glucagon

September 19th, 2011

glucagon kit

Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone made in the pancreas. But the two hormones have opposite effects - insulin lowers blood sugar, while glucagon raises it. This means glucagon can be used to treat an episode of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in diabetics.

Severe hypoglycemia is rare in most insulin dependent diabetics, but can cause a loss of consciousness and should be considered a medical emergency. Type 1 diabetics are advised to have a glucagon kit on or near them at all times, as are the parents and caregivers of children with diabetes. diabetes coach Gary Gilles has written a valuable guide to treating severe low blood sugar with glucagon, describing when and how glucagon should be used. Glucagon is administered as an injection, but unlike an insulin injection, it should be injected deep into the muscle.

To read Gilles' article on, >Click Here.<

Overcoming Injection Anxiety

September 20th, 2011

Have you or someone close to you been newly diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic? Are you anxious about giving yourself or your dependent insulin injections? Many diabetics say that giving themselves an insulin injection is the hardest part of the condition.

Or perhaps you're an experienced diabetic who hasn't kept up to date on the latest insulin delivery methods like spring loaded syringes, insulin pens and insulin jet injectors. Skipping doses of diabetes medication can lead to poor blood sugar control and diabetes complications. WebMD feature writer Stephanie Watson offers some practical advice in an article titled Overcoming Objections to Injections.

Edible Film a Possible Insulin Delivery Platform

September 22nd, 2011

In another promising development in the world of diabetes medication, the specialty pharmaceutical company MonoSol Rx is testing its unique PharmFilm as a possible oral insulin delivery platform. PharmFilm is a quick-dissolving film that can be impregnated with medication and placed under the tongue or against the inside of the cheek. The medication is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth's mucosal membranes.

The FDA has already approved two applications of the edible film - Zuplenz to treat nausea and vomiting, and Suboxone to treat opiod dependence. MonoSol Rx is now testing two new applications for PharmFilm, one dispenses a drug to treat ADHD, and the other delivers insulin for diabetics.

Currently, insulin can only be administered through injection, as it is destroyed by acids in the digestive system. Because the postage stamp sized insulin film dissolves so quickly in the mouth, the diabetes medication bypasses the digestive tract and passes directly into the circulatory system.

MonoSol Rx and Midatech are just two of many companies racing to develop different ways to administer insulin without injections, including insulin patches, insulin inhalers, and insulin nasal sprays.

The insulin film can be manufactured in different sizes to accommodate different insulin dosages. The advantages of a dissolving insulin film for insulin dependent diabetics (especially children with diabetes and their caregivers) are obvious - no insulin injections; precise insulin dosing; a convenient, discreet and portable medication, and instant onset of action.

MonoSol Rx is collaborating with Midatech Group Ltd, a leading edge nanotechnology company which develops biocompatible nanoparticles (tiny synthetic molecules that are designed to carry and deliver drugs) to bring the oral diabetes medication to market. The insulin film has been successfully tested transbuccally (inside the cheek) in pigs and monkeys, and the partners plan to begin human trials this year.

A spokesperson for Midatech Group said, "The results of insulin PharmFilm in our primate study validate the film delivery of active insulin across the buccal mucosa for the first time. In addition, we have preclinical proof-of-concept that these results can be achieved in a controlled dose precisely tailored to suit individual needs. We anticipate results from our human clinical trials, slated to commence in the second quarter of 2011, to revolutionize treatment methods and insulin delivery for diabetics worldwide."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 24 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes - the seventh leading cause of death in the country. Many of these diabetics (about 30%) are, or will become, insulin dependent and require insulin injections. Many are struggling with complications involving their heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and circulation.

Insulin is a hormone which moves blood sugar into the cells to give the body energy. Diabetics either don't produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes), can't make enough insulin, and/or can't properly make use of the little insulin they do produce (type 2 diabetes).

A Humorous Account of Caring for a Diabetic Cat

September 23rd, 2011

cat with diabetes

Megan Radford has written a humorous post titled Babysitting a Diabetic Cat, or How I Learned That Karma Bites Back for the website DiabetesDaily. A diabetic herself, Radford was the obvious choice to care for her sister's diabetic cat (who requires twice daily insulin injections and occasional glucose testing) when her sister went away. The post begins:

I am the friend who is used to needles. The one who doesn't flinch or faint at sight of blood or sharp things. When my sister asked me to take care of her diabetic cat for a week while she and her husband were out of town, I blustered and puffed about like nobody's business. "No problem!" I said with gun-slinging fervor. "Piece of cake!" With a wink and the fingers twisting into an okee-dokee gesture, I delivered the final blow with a wry smile: "It's not like I'm afraid of needles or anything!"

To read more about Radford's adventures in cat sitting, and learn how karma bit her back, >Click Here.<

Insulin "Master Switch" Discovered

September 26th, 2011

Australian researchers have discovered a gene that regulates other genes in beta cells - the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. What's more, they've discovered that this gene, called Id1, is "switched on" by a high fat diet.

"We're saying that Id1 is the molecular link between environmental factors - such as a high fat diet - and beta cell dysfunction," said Dr. Ross Laybutt from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, "Not only does the presence of Id1 appear to initiate all the other gene expression changes that take place in dysfunctional beta cells, its absence completely protects the beta cell."

Laybutt and his team intend to treat diabetic mice with a chemical compound that is already in development to block Id1 in cancer. If they can delay diabetes or improve insulin secretion in mice, they believe there is new hope for people with diabetes.

Theoretically, blocking Id1 could eliminate the need for diabetes medication for type two diabetics. To read the press release from Australia's Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, >Click Here.<

Living with a Diabetic Dog

September 27th, 2011

diabetes in dogs

Just as in people, there has been an alarming upsurge in cases of diabetes in dogs. Also as in people, diabetes in dogs can be either type 1 (requiring insulin injections) or type 2 diabetes (often connected to an overweight animal)., the self described "website for dog lovers", has posted an article titled Seven Essential Tips for Living with a Diabetic Dog, discussing how to successfully manage your dog's diabetes in daily life.

The article offers common sense tips (carry a small packet of honey with you in case your pet has an episode of low blood sugar) and some not as well-known advice (if your dog stops responding well to insulin, it may have a urinary tract infection) for owners of dogs with diabetes.

For a more in-depth article on the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in dogs written by a veterinarian, visit Caring For Your Diabetic Dog.

Maggot Therapy for Diabetic Ulcers

September 28th, 2011

diabetic ulcer

One of the complications of diabetes can be ulcerated wounds that won't heal, particularly on the feet. This is because diabetes causes nerve damage and impairs blood flow and circulation to the extremities. About 1 in 5 diabetics who seek hospital treatment do so because of foot problems, and diabetes is one of the leading causes of lower limb amputations worldwide.

The medical removal of dead or infected tissue from wounds such as diabetic ulcers is called debridement. Doctors typically use scalpels, high pressure fluid, or tissue-dissolving enzymes for the procedure. A less known procedure is maggot debridement therapy, or MDT.

MDT is also referred to as maggot therapy, or by the slightly less disturbing term "larva therapy". The therapy employs the use of live maggots (fly larvae hatched from eggs). These are no ordinary maggots, but FDA-approved, medical grade, phaenicia sericata (blow fly) larvae, available only by prescription.

Medical grade maggots do not feed on or bury into healthy tissue, but dissolve and consume only dead and diseased tissue. They also fight infection by killing bacteria. The maggots are so small when applied that they can not even be felt within the wound, although some patients feel pain when the maggots become bigger (after 24 to 36 hours). Once the maggots are removed, the pain ceases.

According to the Wound Care Information Network: "Maggots do not bite. They do not have teeth. They do have modified mandibles though, called mouthhooks, and they have some rough bumps around their body which scratch and poke the dead tissue, one of the mechanisms that debrides the wound. It is similar to a surgeon's rasper, but on a microscopic scale."

The maggots are held in place over the wound with a mesh-like bandage that allows air in and the wound to drain. Once the maggots have fed, they are ready to leave the wound, and many will bury themselves in the dressing for easy removal. Others can be wiped off with a damp piece of gauze. Any "stragglers" will leave the wound and burry themselves in a fresh bandage within 24 hours.

The use of maggots in medicine began centuries ago, when military doctors noticed that soldiers whose wounds had become infected with maggots healed better. During the 1920s, Dr. William Baer refined the use of medicinal maggots, selecting certain species that fed only on dead tissue, which he raised in the laboratory and used to treat soft tissue infections in children.

MGT became widespread in the 1930s, but fell out of favor in the 1940s with the advent of new antibiotics and improved surgical techniques. In 1989, clinical studies determined that maggot therapy was a safe and effective treatment, and it was recommended not as a therapy of last resort, but as a second or third line of treatment for non-healing wounds. Today, thousands of physicians from over 20 countries are routinely employing maggot therapy. Maggot therapy has been successfully used on wounds infected with the antibiotic resistant MRSA "superbug".

Many argue that no one wants live maggots in and on their body. The Wound Care Information Network retorts: "What patients do not want is a stinking, draining wound. What patients do not want is to lose their foot. What patients do not want is 4 more weeks of a treatment in which they do not see any benefit. To someone with a non-healing wound, wearing "baby flies" for 2 days is not too high a price to pay, if the potential for success is what is reported with MDT."

To read more about maggot therapy for diabetic ulcers on the Wound Care Information Network website, Click Here.

Woman Murders Husband with Massive Insulin Injection

September 29th, 2011

The prosecutor in Alicante, Spain has requested a prison term of 29 years for a woman accused of murdering her husband with a lethal insulin dose.

Fifty-one-year-old Gregoria CS, a Spanish woman on diabetes medication since 1998, was responsible for administering medication to her husband, Juan Antonio GC, diagnosed with HIV.

Gregoria allegedly first dosed her husband with insulin on March 30th, 2007 after a family row, resulting in his admission to hospital in a hypoglycemic crisis. He remained in hospital for a month.

On a second occasion on June 28th, 2010, she injected her sleeping husband in the neck with a massive dose using three insulin pens, and when he woke up smothered his cries for help with a pillow.

The next morning the couple's children raised the alarm when their father would not wake up.He was transferred to hospital in Elche with severe hypoglycemia and was stabilized, but remained in a vegetative state until his death on February 4th, 2011.

The woman had accused her husband of psychological abuse. The prosecutor's requested term of imprisonment comprises 11 years for the first murder attempt and 18 years for the second.

From the online newspaper, RoundTownNews.

Is It Safe To Reuse An Insulin Syringe?

September 30th, 2011

Is it safe to reuse an insulin syringe? Bethany from California asked this question of Conditions Expert Dr. Otis Brawley on the health website CNN Health. Dr. Otis' answer reads in part:

"Insulin syringes are expensive, and many patients want to reuse needles to save money. Many also reuse the lancets used to prick the skin and draw blood to measure blood sugar.

You are right that the reuse of insulin syringes and lancets is dangerous. A used needle can have bacteria from the skin in and on it. Bacteria can contaminate the bottle of insulin when reinserted into the bottle. The bottled insulin is a growth medium that can allow the bacteria to reproduce. Insulin is stored in a refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth.

Certain types of bacteria when injected can be especially devastating and can even cause death. In the U.S., several thousand diabetic patients die each year due to bad sterile technique causing abscesses, skin infection and sepsis, which is generalized infection involving the blood.

There are some insulin injection devices that are designed to be reused. Insulin for these devices comes in cartridges with a needle. A new cartridge and needle is used with each dose. The cartridge system is not very useful for the patients who have to mix immediate and long acting insulin at a dose.

All of these risks [of diabetes complications] can be reduced through good blood sugar control, good diet, exercise, and taking diabetes medications properly. Mild diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise. Moderate disease often requires oral diabetes medications, and more severe Type 2 disease requires oral diabetes medicines and insulin injections."

To read Dr. Otis' answer in its entirety, including sound advice on avoiding diabetes complications, >Click Here.<