Using Insulin Pens
Insulin can be given using a syringe or a pen device. Some people find that a pen is more easy to use than a syringe. Pens may cost more, so be sure to discuss this with your health care team. Use the pictures and steps listed below as you learn how to use your insulin pen.
Parts of an Insulin Pen
Steps for Using an Insulin Pen
1. Wash your hands.
2. Decide where you will give your injection. Be sure the skin is clean.
3. Check the label on the pen to make sure you are using the correct type of insulin.
4. Clean the rubber stopper on your pen by rubbing it with an alcohol wipe.
5. Remove the foil seal on the pen needle. Attach the pen needle to your pen by twisting it on the end of the pen until tight.
6. Pull off the outer pen needle cap and inner pen needle cap. Set aside.
7. Prime the pen by dialing in 2 units (this is sometimes called the “air shot” test).
8. Hold your pen with the needle pointing up. Push the end of your pen like a plunger to push out the 2 units. You should see a drop of insulin at the needle tip. If not, repeat this step.
9. Turn the dial to the number of insulin units you need to inject.
10. Locate the injection site. Inject the pen needle into your skin at 90 degree angle as shown in the picture.
11. Push the end of your pen down all the way until pen dose reads “0”.
12. Wait 5 seconds before pulling the pen out of your skin.
13. Withdraw the pen and pen needle from your skin.
14. Unscrew and remove the pen needle.
15. Throw your used pen needle in a sharps box.
16. Pens do expire. Ask your nurse or pharmacist about this since it varies based on insulin type.
Source for all images: Media Solutions, UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Permission for use granted by the Wisconsin Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.
American Association of Diabetes Educators (2009). Strategies for Insulin Injection Therapy in Diabetes Self-Management White Paper. Retrieved from http://www.diabeteseducator.org/export/sites/aade/_resources/pdf/
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/17/2012
Copyright © 06/21/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7375
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