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July 2, 1999

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Indiana, USA:

I have Type 2, diagnosed several years ago. I am 32 years old and have been on insulin for four years. I heard that it was okay to reuse disposable syringes. Is that true? If it is true how do you reuse them?


Yes, it is true that many patients re-use their disposable syringes. Many, many studies have been done to show that people don’t get infections from themselves. When patients ask me how many times they can use a syringe, I tell them, “you’ll know” (based on whether it hurts). Be very careful re-capping and don’t touch the needle and put it in a safe place. Don’t use alcohol to clean the needle because you will remove the lubricant and the syringe will no longer be “slippery” and will tend to hurt more.

You can also re-use your lancets for your lancing device.

Discuss these ideas with your diabetes nurse educator.

Additional comments from The Editor:

We recently ran a poll about syringe and lancet reuse.