Needle safety gadget reduces insulin injection errors

Thursday February 23 2017

A specialist gadget designed to improve needle safety has been shown to successfully reduce errors relating to insulin injections by one-fifth (20 per cent).

Research carried out at Cardiff University shows that the NeedleBay gadget helped to give patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes greater control over the administration of their insulin-based medication, subsequently reducing their risk of suffering a needlestick injury.

The researchers monitored 226 participants and found that 20 per cent fewer errors were made when the needle safety device was used, as patients were better able to measure their medication dosages.

In addition, the gadget allowed diabetic patients to prepare their medication up to one week in advance, so that it could be all lined up and ready to go, eradicating the issue of forgetting about it, rushing to prepare it and consequently administering a sharps injury or an incorrect and potentially dangerous dose.

Prior to the start of the study, just 20 per cent of participants said they felt in control when it came to self-managing their condition at home with insulin injections, but this had increased to a huge 99 per cent by the end of the research period.

Using a specialist needle safety device also appeared to take away some of the concerns relating to sharps instruments that many patients have, which prevent some from regularly injecting themselves with insulin to settle their blood-glucose levels.

Failure to do this could increase their risk of their eyesight declining, their kidneys failing and the development of cardiovascular disease. In some cases, the circulation could be so severely affected that gangrene sets in, resulting in the need for amputation.

However, the researchers found that having the option of using the needle safety gadget encouraged 50 per cent more diabetics to correctly and regularly administer their medication, meaning such devices could have the potential to save people's lives.

Speaking to the Diabetes Times, Dr Emily Burns, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, commented: "It's promising how helpful some people found NeedleBay. Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK with type 1 and type 2 diabetes treat their condition with insulin in order to regulate blood-glucose levels and prevent complications like kidney disease, amputation and blindness."