Why does needle size matter?

Sep 18, 2017

It's time to get to the 'pointy' end of diabetes self-care.

Do you know the size of your needle? Have you ever considered switching to a smaller needle? Chances are like many other people with diabetes, you may not be aware that short pen needles exist and the transition to a shorter needle can make injecting a more comfortable experience, which is especially relevant for people who inject their diabetes medication several times a day.

How do I find the right needle for me?

Choosing the appropriate needle length for you is crucial for effectively injecting your diabetes medication. In more recent years, diabetes experts from around the world have been championing the use of short needles over long needles.2

Long needles, such as an 8mm or 12.7mm pen needle, increase the risk of injecting your medication into the muscle rather than the fatty layer of tissue just below the skin.1 It's important your medication is injected into this fatty layer to ensure optimal absorption of your medication and management of your blood glucose levels.2

Longer needles can also increase the chances of bruising, bleeding and pain.2 Short needles, being 4mm and 5mm pen needles, reduce the risk of injecting medication into your muscle.

The BD Ultra-FineTM 4mm Pen Needle is BD's smallest, thinnest pen needle which is compatible with all diabetes medication pens and suitable for most people with diabetes including children and those who are overweight.3-5# Used with the correct injection technique, The BD Ultra-fineTM 4mm Pen Needle ensures medication is injected to the correct skin depth over 99.5 percent of the time, at all injection sites.1 Note, this product is not available in New Zealand. The BD Micro-FineTM+ 4mm Pen Needle is currently available in New Zealand.

If you ever experience bruising, bleeding or pain when injecting, switching to a shorter needle such as a BD 4mm or 5mm pen needle may help.2 Talk to your healthcare professional about which needle length is appropriate for you.

# As at March 2017

  1. Gibney M et al. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010;26(6):1519-1530.
  2. Frid AH, Kreugel G, Grassi G et al. Mayo Clin Proc. September 2016:91(9):1231-1255.
  3. Aronson R. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012; 14(8): 741-747. 2013; 39(5): 445-53.
  4. Lo Presti D, Ingegnosi C, Strauss K. Pediatr Diabetes. 2012; 13(7): 525-533.
  5. Bergenstal R, et al. Mayo Clin Proc. March 2015; 90(3):329-338.