Reusing needles to inject insulin ups infection risk
Out of 92.5 per cent patients around 44.2 per cent were reusing the needle three to five times, while 24.5 per cent were reusing the needle six to 10 times.pune Updated: Jan 30, 2018 14:26 IST
A survey by city-based Chellaram Diabetes Institute (CDI) has found that around 90 per cent of diabetic patients in India, who are injecting insulin, have been reusing needles, thus, putting them at a higher risk of getting infections.
Doctors from the institute spoke about the need for more awareness required amongst patients injecting insulin. They were speaking against the backdrop of the guidelines released by Forum for Injection Technique and Therapy Expert Recommendations (FITTER) India 2017 recently.
Commenting on the scenario of diabetes and insulin in India, Dr AG Unnikrishnan, chief endocrinologist at Chellaram Diabetes Institute, said, “Around 42 countries participate in the survey undertaken by FITTER before it releases its guidelines. Around 1,000 patients from across India were surveyed from 20 centres. Chellaram Diabetes Institute alone surveyed 40 patients.
“The overall survey from India has highlighted that 92.5 per cent patients injecting insulin were found to be reusing the needle. Out of these, around 44.2 per cent were reusing the needle three to five times, while 24.5 per cent were reusing the needle six to 10 times.
“Apart from this, 17.5 per cent were found to be reusing the needle over 10 times, which is alarming.” Dr Unnikrishnan added that around 80.5 per cent were also found to be reusing the syringe used for injecting insulin. Dr Vedavati Purandare, consultant physician at Chellaram Diabetes Institute, said that this is one of the largest surveys of its kind ever performed in diabetes and provides landmark data on Indian injectors. “Despite the fact that India is ahead of the curve, in using the shortest needles, there is a disturbingly high rate of needle reuse with both syringes and pens. The patients reuse their syringes mostly for convenience or to save costs, Purandhare said.
The doctors emphasised that reuse of needles or syringes can cause bleeding and even lead to infections in patients. They added that a needle or a syringe should be used just once.
Speaking about the recommendations released by FITTER, doctors from Chellaram Diabetes Institute said, “The key recommendations of FITTER are that the shortest needles, currently 4 mm for pens and 6 mm in syringes, are safe, effective and less painful and should be the first line of choice in all patient categories.
“FITTER recommendations also suggest that regular inspection of injection sites, preventing reuse of needle and correct site rotation influence the success of insulin injection therapy. FITTER India recommends that, ideally, needles should not be reused as blunt needles can damage tissues resulting in injection pain, and also result in higher dose of insulin, leading to higher therapy cost burden to the patient.”
The doctors said that FITTER India recommendations are based on the Global Injection Technique Questionnaire Study, updates on local and global clinical evidence after robust published literature search and the global FITTER meeting that was held in Rome in the year 2015, which included over 150 key opinion leaders from all over the world and more than 15,000 healthcare professionals.