Reuse of needles

Have used insulin for my Type 2 for a few years now. it gives me better control. I use NovoLog and Levemir Pens. i re-use the needles until they get dull. I can’t imagine changing needles for every shot.

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Yes, many of us re-use needles and as long as we are somewhat careful, can get over 50 shots per needle. When we inject directly rather than through clothes, the needles last longer.

We need to be careful with Basal insulins such as Levemir and Lantus. Those insulins tend to be more like glue and can thicken and plug needles as well as not give an accurate dose after several re-use.

Over the years, the best I have found is to alternate the needles and when used for Basal insulin, then on the following shot use that needle for a Bolus shot of either Humalog or Novalog. The bolus insulin will flush out the thicker Basal insulin.

For the past few decades I have been using digital pens that deliver in 0.1units and has a sensor which gives an alarm when the exact dose is not being delivered. That is how I determine when the needle is plugged beyond rational use as well as changing a needle that is dull or bent.


I typically change the novolog needle 1x daily and the long acting every time (I use tresiba 1x daily)

I used to reuse needles one or twice. They weren’t expensive enough to reuse many times and they’d get dull pretty quickly anyway.

I got into the habit many years ago during frequent lengthy international travel where certain airlines would not allow you to carry on more than a few needles in some countries. By the time I got back to the US, the habit had formed and I never looked back.

I check each kind by running one or two units through it to make sure it is not plugged. After use, I carefully recap the needle and before injection, I clean the injection site very well with alcohol. This is all very easy with Novolog FlexPen and Levemir FlexTouch pens.