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How To Dispose Of Insulin Pens

Disposing Of The Insulin Pen

People often prefer using insulin pens as they come with an autoinjector which makes the process easier. However, these pens do have the potential to cause injury if they aren’t handled properly.

Once you’ve used your insulin pen and need to discard or replace it, be sure to keep it in your sharps container.

You will also need to ensure that the sharps container is sealed and cannot be accessed easily.

Bd Sharps Disposal By Mail

Simply mail away your sharps

BD sharps disposal by mail provides a prepaid box you can use to mail in your used insulin syringes, pen needles and lancets for destruction. Just one package satisfies all sharps containment, transportation, treatment, disposal and tracking needs, enabling you to prevent your sharps from injuring others.

BD™ sharps disposal by mail, 1.4 quart 3 8290-323488 2 BD™ sharps disposal by mail, 1.4 Quart Accessories


For greater comfort and safety, you should never use an insulin syringe or pen needle more than once. For more information on the proper disposal of insulin syringes, pen needles and lancets, see our section on insulin needle disposal.

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Has My Insulin Gone Bad

Many find themselves asking this question when insulin “seems like it’s just water” and has little to no effect on blood sugars.

That potency issue is has been explored in numerous studies in recent years, and while insulin manufacturers and researchers have found that the supply chain isn’t a regular problem, they still encourage pharmacies and distributors to carefully follow protocols in shipping and storing insulin.

Unfortunately, insulin does not automatically turn cloudy or look any different when it’s going bad. In some extreme cases, cloudiness or crystals may form in the vial. That’s a sure sign that the insulin needs to be replaced unless of course, it’s an older form of long-acting insulin known as Humulin, Novolin, or NPH that is made to be cloudy.

Ponder, who points out that the best choice is always to use insulin that is within expiration dates, dreams of a time we can easily test our insulin for viability. Like the milk drinker checking the date and then sniffing to decide, he would love for people using insulin to have an easy litmus test of its potency.

“I’ve always wished Duracell would invent an insulin tester like what they did for batteries,” he muses. “Maybe even some home test kit that would turn colors if insulin was over a certain amount denatured.”

Until then, insulin users will continue to face down dates and sometimes push past them.

What You Need To Know About Diabetes Injection Pen Disposal

Knowing how to dispose of needles and delivery devices , including injection pens, is an important part of managing your diabetes.

If not disposed of correctly, used sharps can injure people, such as garbage and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers and family members, and put them at risk for infection and other serious health conditions like and .

Patterns Of Lancet And Insulin Needle Disposal

How to Dispose of Insulin Needles

Among survey respondents who performed SMBG, more than 60% practiced safe disposal of their lancets . The other respondents typically threw their needles directly into their household garbage. One patient disposed of lancets by flushing them down the toilet. Among respondents who injected insulin, two-thirds used safe disposal practices, but the other one-third placed their needles directly into the household garbage.

Just How To Utilize An Insulin Pen

Each time you utilize your pen:

  • Inspect the expiration day and type of insulin .
  • Examine to earn sure that your insulin is not clumpy which your fast-acting insulin is clear as well as anemic.
  • Roll the pen in your hands, and afterwards carefully turn the pen if it is an insulin mix.
  • Remove the pen cap and also clean the top with sterile alcohol.
  • Attach the needle to the pen. Use a brand-new needle each time.
  • Prime the pen, then call up the appropriate dose. Double-check the dosage before you inject.
  • Remove the cap and also pick a clean website to inject. Hold the needle at a 90-degree angle, unless you are instructed to do or else by your medical professional.
  • Press the switch to inject the insulin and wait 5 to 10 seconds to ensure all the insulin has been soaked up.
  • Eliminate the needle as well as take care of it correctly.

If you accidentally dial in too high of a dose, insulin pens give you the capability to fix your error promptly and also conveniently. Some pens expel the excess insulin via the needle as though it will certainly not enter your skin, while others have an option to reset your pen to no units and also begin again.

Safe Disposal Of Sharps

Sharps are medical devices that penetrate the skin and are used in the home or outside formal medical services, such as hospitals. They include syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitors, finger prickers and needles used to administer insulin.

For the health and safety of the community it is important to keep sharps out of our waste and recycling systems. Most garbage or recycling facilities have people sorting garbage by hand. Safe disposal of sharps reduces the risk of harm to others and the environment.

Always make sure your sharps are secured and disposed of in a strong plastic container.

Use either:

  • An Australian Standard Sharps container
  • A puncture-resistant plastic container with a screw top

There are safe and accessible options to dispose of your sharps in your local community including:

  • Public hospitals

View or download the NSW Community Sharps brochure for information about sharps disposal in NSW: NSW Community Sharps brochure

Information on the disposal of sharps is also available in the following languages:

When To Give An Insulin Injection

  • If you’re using rapid-acting insulin, inject it within 15 minutes before your meal. It’s best to inject it just before you start eating. This helps prevent low blood sugar.
  • Most mealtime insulins work for 4 hours. Don’t inject mealtime insulin more often than every 4 hours unless your healthcare provider tells you to. For example, if you eat breakfast at 8:00 am, don’t inject your next dose of mealtime insulin until 12:00 pm or later. Injecting doses too close together can cause low blood sugar, which can be dangerous.
  • If you’re using long-acting insulin, inject it at the same time every day. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.
  • It’s okay to use rapid-acting and long-acting insulin at the same time.
  • How To Dispose Of Auto

    To properly dispose of your EpiPen, first make sure the device is kept inside its protective case. If you have used the auto-injector, return it to its case immediately to reduce the risk of someone else stabbing themselves with the exposed needle.

    There are several options for safely disposing of medication and medical sharps, including expired epinephrine auto-injectors. These include:

    • The medical staff at your doctor’s office or at a nearby hospital can dispose of expired or used auto-injectors safely with their other medical waste. Ask if you can include sharps in their hazardous medical waste.
    • Some pharmacies now accept expired medications for disposal. Ask your pharmacy if it will take auto-injectors or if it participates in medical waste drives. Some pharmacies hold events once or twice per year when you can turn in expired or otherwise unwanted and unused medication.
    • Some cities or counties have household hazardous waste collection programs that include medical waste. Contact your local sanitation department or hospital to find out if there is a drop-off site available near you.

    Safe Disposal of Medications

    Household Sharps Collection Sites

    In Minnesota, it is up to each pharmacy, healthcare facility, city, and county to decide whether they want to collect household sharps from citizens. Many counties offer free or low-cost household sharps collection sites. Contact your county solid waste office or household hazardous waste program to find out if they collect household sharps for proper disposal.

    Most healthcare facilities do not accept household sharps from patients, however, a few pharmacies in Minnesota do. Find Minnesota household sharps collection sites:

    • Do not bring household sharps to a Take It to the Box household medication dropbox at a pharmacy or law enforcement stations.
    • Dispose of prefilled syringes, such as EpiPen™ or Narcan™ injectors, with your household sharps.
    • If your sharps container does not have a tight screw-on lid, use strong tape, such as duct tape, to secure the lid and any openings.

    Insulin Is A Hormone Made In The Pancreas It Enables Glucose To Move From The Bloodstream Into The Bodys Cells Where It Can Be Used For Energy

    Insulin also allows glucose to be stored in the liver, for you to use later on when the blood glucose level decreases, such as overnight when you are not eating.

    All people with type 1 diabetes will require insulin as the cells in the pancreas that usually produce insulin are destroyed by the immune system, so no insulin is produced. Some individuals with type 2 or gestational diabetes may also require insulin to help keep the blood glucose levels in a healthy range. For those with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes that do require insulin, it doesn’t mean that they have ‘failed’ in their diabetes management. In some people with type 2 diabetes the insulin being produced may not work properly, or the pancreas may not make enough insulin.

    Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. Some of the hormones produced during pregnancy stop the insulin from working properly so the pancreas needs to make extra insulin but may not be able to make enough extra insulin to stop the blood glucose levels from going too high. One of the main goals of managing diabetes is keeping the blood glucose levels within the healthy ranges and you and your health care team can work out what suits you.

    Starting Insulin

    Insulin delivery devices

    Other devices such as the iPort can be used for individuals who are on injections who have a fear of needles.

    Syringes and needles are free for individuals registered with the NDSS as requiring insulin.

    Where to inject insulin

    How To Dispose Of Expired Or Unused Insulin Vials

    Follow these steps for quick and easy yet safe disposal of expired insulin at home. PS. You can follow the steps given below for any other prescription medication or off-the-counter drugs, liquids drops, or even medicated creams.

  • Step 1 – Remove the insulin from its original container and mix it up with something unpleasant like coffee grounds. This makes it unattractive to children or pets, and they aren’t likely to grab it from the disposal bin. Remember, children and pets tend to rummage through boxes to find ‘treasure.’ This step ensures that they don’t get their hands on expired insulin.
  • Step 2 – Put this mixture in something that you can close properly and will not tear apart. A re-sealable zipper or disposable container works well. It will ensure the insulin doesn’t leak out to create a mess.
  • Step 3 – Throw this container in the trash bin.
  • Step 4 – Go back to the original container and remove any stickers or labels that may have your personal information. Most insulin containers will have your identity or number printed on them. Remove this safely before throwing the container away.
  • Additionally, there are some more options you can consider as well. Keeping in mind the ever-growing insulin shortage and availability crisis going on in the country, your unused insulin can be put to good use.

    Several doctors stand by the fact that even expired insulin can be used by people with diabetes. It may not be as effective, but it’s better than not having the hormone at all.

    When Does Insulin Expire

    How to remove the needle from the insulin pen

    Manufacturers actually confirm that insulin has two separate expiration dates:

  • The first is the one printed clearly on the product. This is the date that the insulin pen or vial, so long as it is kept refrigerated within approved temperatures, is assured by the manufacturer to be usable.
  • Secondly, there’s also the amount of time from which the pen or vial is first opened for use. This takes a bit of memory and math on the part of the user: Typically, insulin is effective for 28 days after opening, with a few types lasting up to 40 days.
  • Clearly, that means users are supposed to mark the date they open a vial or began using a pen, and then keep track and discard it after 28 days.

    “Multiple studies are conducted to determine the length of time insulin can be manufactured, distributed, and used by the patient,” says Michael A. Dobbins, a principal research scientist at Eli Lilly. “These expiration dates ensure that the drug meets established quality standards on the date of expiration.”

    The insulin companies do this testing to assure that their products comply with the 90-95 percent potency guidelines required by the Food and Drug Administration .

    So when expiration dates hit, It’s not that the insulin doesn’t work, it’s all about the potency,” says Michael Castagna, CEO of inhalable insulin manufacturer MannKind.

    “So while you give yourself 4 units, you could actually only be getting about 3.6 or less,” he explains.

    Disposing Of Your Full Sharps Bin

    Arrangements for disposing of full sharps bins vary depending where you live.

    If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, and use needles at home, your local council may be responsible for collecting your full sharps bin.

    You can find out more from your local council’s website. Local councils can charge for this service, but most do not.

    How Should South Africans Dispose Of Needles

    Used needles are considered medical waste, specifically sharps waste. It’s important that needles are not simply discarded into the dustbin with normal household waste.

    Once you’ve used a needle, you should place it in a sealed, puncture-proof, clearly marked container. When this container is full, it can be returned to the pharmacy where you bought them so it can be emptied. It can also be taken to a clinic or hospital with a sharps disposal facility. The pharmacy will then dispose of the needles in a safe manner, to reduce the risk of needlestick injuries.

    Safety Guidelines For Disposing Of Sharp Disposal Containers

    When your sharps disposal container has reached its fill line, you have to take them to the local drop-off collection sites for sharps such as pharmacies, health clinics, medical waste facilities or police stations.

    These places conduct sharps collection programs to dispose of home-generated sharps. They offer this service free of cost or for a nominal fee and use physical or chemical methods to destroy the sharps.

    Here are a few things you should keep in mind when handling sharps disposal containers:

    • Never fill the containers beyond their fill lines as it can increase the risk of an accidental injury due to a needle stick.
    • When you are away from home, always keep a travel-size sharps disposal container with you so that you can safely dispose of sharps while on the go.
    • Lastly, never reuse a sharps container. Once you have taken it to an appropriate collection site, start using a new one.

    You can also dispose of your sharps disposal containers using one of the following facilities.

    What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Novolog

    Serious side effects can lead to death, including:Low blood sugar. Some signs and symptoms include:

    • anxiety, irritability, mood changes, dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache.

    Your insulin dose may need to change because of:

    • weight gain or loss, increased stress, illness, or change in diet or level of physical activity.

    Other common side effects may include: 

    • low potassium in your blood, injection site reactions, itching, rash, serious whole body allergic reactions, skin thickening or pits at the injection site, weight gain, and swelling of your hands and feet.

    Get emergency medical help if you have:

    • trouble breathing, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, sweating, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.

    Minimizing Risk From Sharps

    Here are ten handy tips for proper sharps disposal:

  • Purchase a sharp’s container, one that is suitable for your needs. This will keep all of your sharps safely hidden from others and may prevent a serious injury. Sharps containers come in a range of sizes, one of which may be right for you.
  • If you use syringes or pen needles, always replace the cap on the syringe before you place it in the sharps container, just to be extra safe.
  • Invest in a needle clipper. A needle clipper allows you to cut off syringe and pen needles and will hold them inside a reservoir until such time that you can properly dispose of them.
  • Always handle sharps carefully. Use retrieval tongs or a small pair of pliers, if possible.
  • When walking, point the needle downwards, away from your body to minimize risk.
  • Always secure your sharps container so that it cannot be accessed easily by others, especially children.
  • When your sharps container has reached its fill line, it needs to be disposed of. Take it in to your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies provide this service free of charge, but it’s never a bad idea to speak with a pharmacy team member before you begin. If your pharmacy does not have a sharps collection program, you may have to take it to a household hazardous waste collection depot. Check with your local waste management organization for locations in your area.
  • Do not overfill your sharps container. Filling beyond the fill line increases the risk of accidental injury caused by a needle-stick.
  • Is The Container Safe

    The container corresponds to Canadian standards. It allows the storage and safe transport of sharps like lancets or needles. The new model has a temporary closure and a permanent closure . These instructions are engraved in French and English on the container. Once a sharps object is placed inside, the temporary closure must always be on to prevent accidents.

    How Should I Take Novolog

    • Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed.
    • NovoLog® starts acting fast. Eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after taking it.
    • Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to.
    • Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them.
    • Do not reuse or share your needles with other people. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.
    • Change your injection sites within the area you choose with each injection to reduce your risk of getting lipodystrophy and localized cutaneous amyloidosis at the injection sites.
    • Do not use the exact same spot for each injection.
    • Do not inject where the skin has pits, is thickened, or has lumps.
    • Do not inject where the skin is tender, bruised, scaly or hard, or into scars or damaged skin.

    Using Insulin Past Expiration Dates

    Close up of green and orange insulin syringe pens

    The reality is, many do use insulin past the expiration date.

    For Elena, who’s had T1D for 19 years and struggles at times to afford co-pays, using expired insulin “is way better than rationing,” she says. She stretches each vial as long as she can.

    “I admit, also, to finding one in a purse and just thinking, ‘Hmm, I’m going to try this,’” she says. “It was fine. But I also checked my blood sugars a ton more while using it.”

    Which is sage advice. Should you choose to stretch insulin, experts say , you should amp up your glucose oversight.

    Other Factors To Consider Besides The Expiration Date

    While the expiry date is the best determinant of whether your insulin is still safe for use or not, there are some other factors you should keep in mind as well.

    Expiration dates only apply to insulin bottles or vials that haven’t been opened or unsealed. Moreover, they need to be stored under the right conditions in your refrigerator for the expiration date to be viable.

    If the insulin is left at room temperature for too long, or the bottle has been opened for some time now, it will no longer work effectively. These inappropriate storage conditions result in the hormone losing its strength or even becoming completely unable to regulate your blood sugar levels.

    It would help if you made it a practice to dispose of any insulin bottles opened beyond the recommended time of use. Also, be sure to get rid of any vials left out of the refrigerator for an extended time.

    A smart practice to take on is labeling your insulin vials with the date you first opened them. This will help you keep track and determine by when to use the insulin safely.

    Be sure to go over the original packet’s instructions and discuss with your diabetes specialist to confirm safe use. They are best informed on how long you can use the insulin after opening or keeping it at room temperature.

    These rules are particularly important for people who use prefilled insulin pens or insulin cartridges. So, pay heed to the fine print and be mindful of the dates.

    What Can You Do With Leftover Pens

    The easiest way to recycle pens is to send them to TerraCycle’s Writing Instrument Brigade. The program is sponsored by pen manufacturers Sharpie and Paper Mate, so you can return all their products through the program. That includes pens and pen caps, highlighters, markers and mechanical pencils.

    READ:  What does the Colour of your front door mean?

    Where To Get A Sharps Container

    For people with diabetes, 1.4 L containers are available in some pharmacies, outpatient clinics and diabetes education centers. The 5L containers are no longer available through the SIRSAU program. However, it is possible to buy them in some pharmacies. Public or private care homes must provide, at their expense, containers to their residents.

    About Insulin Pen Needles

    Use a new insulin pen needle each time you give yourself an injection. Insulin pen needles have 4 main parts .

    • A protective tab. This helps keep the needle clean. You’ll need to remove this before attaching the needle to the insulin pen.
    • An outer needle cap. This covers the needle before and after it’s used.
    • An inner needle cap. This helps keep the needle clean before it’s used.
    • A needle. This is how the injection is given into the skin.

    Figure 2. Parts of an insulin pen needle

    How To Dispose Of Expired Insulin

    Goliard Ruelas

    Life with diabetes can be rather tricky. You will need to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels, keep an eye on your food’s carb count, and follow a strict diet.

    Another essential part of living with diabetes is insulin injections. Since your body is no longer able to produce the hormone in sufficient amounts, it requires some external help to maintain your blood sugar level.

    Along with insulin injections comes another vital aspect, proper disposal. Like any other medication, you will need to be careful of how to dispose of expired insulin.

    Moreover, you’ll have to ensure the sharps are stored and disposed of safely. Here is everything you should know.

    Table of Contents

  • Final Words
  • How To Properly Dispose Of Your Sharps: Insulin Pen Needles Syringes And Lancets

    Diabetic Plaza

    If you battle diabetes, proper and safe disposal of your sharps—your insulin pen needles, syringes, and lancets—is always a concern. These items need to be disposed of in such a way that they do not cause harm to other people, pets, or the environment. A sharps container could be a simple solution.

    How Does Landfilling Act As An Important

    Landfilling is an important method in the disposal of wastes, as it collects the wastes in a site which then used for purpose of recycling as the waste are concentrated in various layers and is compacted to reduce the volume. Scientific landfills also act as degassing systems by reducing the production of methane.

    How To Dispose Of Insulin Pens

    How to safely dispose of old medicines or used sharps such ...

    Goliard Ruelas

    Diabetes affects nearly half a billion people all over the world. Insulin injections continue to be essential for patients with Type 1 diabetes and are also important therapy for Type 2 patients.

    With the introduction of insulin pens, patients no longer have to go through the hassle of using a vial and syringe to inject insulin into their bodies every single day.

    These pens contain an insulin filled cartridge, a dial to measure dosage, and a disposable needle. They allow simpler, more accurate, and convenient delivery as compared to using a vial and syringe.

    Table of Contents


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