Insulin Needles: How to Use, Needle Sizes & More | Cornerstones4Care®

Pen Needles

If you or someone you know has diabetes, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are living with it. Vials and syringes used to be the most common way to inject diabetes medicine. But today, many injectable diabetes medicines come in prescription pens, also called prefilled pens or insulin pens. Here, we will focus on the needles that are used with those pens. 

Choosing a pen needle 

Today's pen needles are designed to fit most prefilled pens. But, there are other things to consider when choosing a pen needle. Talk with your health care provider; together you can decide which needle works best for you.

To learn more about Novo Nordisk’s line of needles and to find the pen needle that’s right for you, click here

Today’s needles are shorter and thinner

People who have never self-injected may have concerns about doing so and that’s understandable. But pen needles have come a long way from the ones first launched in 1985. Since then, injection comfort has driven needle technology, making the needles used today shorter and thinner than the ones used in the past.

Understanding needle size

Pen needles come in all different sizes. The size of a needle is indicated by 2 factors—length and gauge (G):

  • Needle length is measured in millimeters. Lengths range anywhere from 12.7 mm to 4 mm, the shortest insulin pen needle currently available
  • Understanding gauge can be a little tricky. The gauge of a needle refers to its thickness. You would think the higher the number, the thicker the needle, but it’s actually the opposite. The higher the number, the thinner the needle is. For example, a 32G needle is thinner than a 27G needle

Always use a new needle for each injection 

You run the risk of infection from reusing needles. The more you reuse a needle, the weaker it gets, which may cause it to:

  • Bend or break off into the skin
  • Become dull; a dull needle can cause pain, bruising, or bleeding during the injection

All of these risks increase each time you reuse a needle. That’s why needles should only be used once and properly disposed of after each injection. 

Whether you have just started injecting or have been for years, always feel free to talk about any concerns you have about injecting or your treatment plan with your health care provider or diabetes care team. They are there to help and support you.


To learn more about Novo Nordisk’s line of 
needles, click here.