Learning the pen!

Been using syringes and vials for most of the past 40 years. But switched to Tresiba (pen only) last spring, and now switching my Humalog too. And have some observations/questions:

1: If I just push the button down, wait 10 seconds, and pull the needle out I almost always have some kind of drop of insulin on the end of the needle - insulin I intended to take but it didn’t go in. But I’ve figured out that if instead of just pushing down once, I instead do a couple gentle of presses of the needle button a couple times, I don’t get the drop or it’s smaller. Good idea/bad idea?

2: Priming doesn’t seem all that important. If I don’t have any air bubbles floating around in the pen, then I’m guessing that there’s no purpose to priming. Yes/no?

3: I figured out, that the pen cap will fit over a single needle on the end of the pen. So for example I can attach a single needle to the pen before leaving home, to make it easier to take a shot on the go. But is this a good idea? Maybe I will end up with more bubbles floating around in the pen if I do this?

Its been a few years since I used pens, but I thought the priming was to fill the needle with insulin because the needle is empty when its attached. I think it probably doesn’t make much of a difference if you’re giving high doses of insulin and you’re not that sensitive to the insulin, but for the people who are very insulin sensitive and only use a few units at a time, missing a quarter or a half unit could be a problem. It’s the same as filling the cannula on the insulin pumps, if half a unit goes to filling the needle, that’s half a unit less going into your body. For some people, this is a huge difference, for others not so much.

I use a Tresiba pen and a Novolog pen. I don’t use very much insulin and often use 1 unit at a time of Novolog.

I hold the button down for a slowish count of 12. I don’t push it more than once and I don’t worry about the tiny drop that drops from the needle.

I don’t change needles very often, but when I do I prime the needle. So, I prime every ten days or so. I give several shots of Novolog daily. I don’t know if I should do be doing this, but it has been a couple of years and I haven’t had a problem. I always used syringes many, many times.

I take my pens everywhere with me and they always have needles attached. I have never had a problem.

I just got a Novolog pen that comes with cartridges so that I can give 1/2 unit shots. I haven’t used it yet, but noticed that it tells you when you have last given a shot, so no more confusion over whether I forgot a shot.

Marilyn dx 1959


Absolutely. I don’t take a needle off unless I’m changing the pen cartridge now and haven’t had a problem. I’ll leave a needle on the end of a pen for a week at a time. I come from a pumping mindset though, so I value being able to take as many shots as I need as conveniently as possible!

I’m not sure the drop is significant. I always see a drop too, but the size of it is consistent and my doses seem right. There are times I pull the pen out too quickly or hit a bad spot and see insulin leak from the site, but this is rare.

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I discard the outer pen cap and leave the inner one attached and cap it. I change the needle when it starts to hurt. A few drops is just fine.