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December 7, 2003

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Kentucky, USA:

How many times can you safely "reuse" a needle on the Novo Pen? The doctor says 10 times but my daughter is bruising and the needle is very hard to even enter her arm after 3 to 4. It feels as if you have to force it in and she complains of pain. I am thinking that the needle should be changed every time it's used. What should I do?


I would not re-use a pen needle. This can cause clogging and you risk not getting your entire dose.

Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

The “right” answer is to change the needle with each injection. Now of course, many people do not do that and indeed re-use their needles. Nevertheless, if you want to minimize all other issues, change the needle.

Additional comments from Dr. Andrea Scaramuzza:

In my opinion the needle could be changed every time after use. The needle is somewhat bad after having done an injection, so every time more you use it the pain increases. In Italy, where I live and work, the National Sanitary System give patients a sufficient amount of needles so they can change it every time.

Additional comments from Dr. Alan Schorr:

You should change the needle each time you use it. Not only for the bruising but because of sanitary and safety concerns. Some of my patients attempt to use the Novofine Pen Needles twice, but generally not more than that. However, I recommend using a new needle for each injection.