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March 5, 2003

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from London, Ontario, Canada:

I am a 20 year old male who has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I am taking injections four times daily, and I have heard about not injecting in the same spot or the insulin will just build up under the skin. I prefer to inject in my abdomen, and I do rotate every injection but I'm curious. How long should I wait before I inject in the same location?

Answer:

Good question. The repeated use of the same area of skin for subcutaneous injections causes the build-up of fat in the space. This changes the way the insulin behaves, in terms of its absorption and time of action. Most people feel that you should picture your abdomen as a grid and continue to rotate over the grid, in terms of where you place the injection. Even if moving means an inch or two at a time. With this pattern, it is unlikely you will use the same area more than three or four times a year. If you are using the same place at intervals less than monthly, I would be concerned that is too much. The goal is to be able to use the injection sites for the long-term.

JTL