Insulin injected with a mismatch between Insulin syringe and Insulin concentration in vial may have disastrous results and is one of the avoidable cause of hospitalization
Insulin vials are of different concentrations and commonly 40 U and 100 U insulin vials are available. 40 U insulin vial has 40 units of insulin in 1 ml while 100 U insulin vial has 100 units of insulin in 1 ml .To inject Insulin, 2 types of syringes are available, 40 U and 100 U. Both are 1 ml syringe with the difference that 40 U syringe will have number mark up to 40 while 100 U syringe will have up to 100. Thus half mark in 40 U syringe will be at 20 U and will carry half ml of Insulin which contains 20 units of insulin, while half level in 100 U syringe will be at 50 unit, and this contains half ml of insulin which now contains 50 unit of Insulin.
In countries like USA, mainly 100 U insulin and 100 U syringes are available. But in countries like India, where both strength of Insulin is available, chances of mistake due to lack of training by doctor, knowledge level of patient, ignorance, error in dispensing at chemist shop are often happening and this leads to incorrect Insulin dose administration which can be dangerous and occasionally life threatening.
For example if a doctor has prescribed 40 units in morning and 40 units in evening and asked patient to use 100 units insulin strength. If this patient by uses 100 unit strength Insulin but by mistake fills insulin in 40 U syringe then he will actually inject 2.5 times the insulin dose that is 100 units and this can lead to dangerous hypoglycemia or low sugar. Opposite of the above leads to high glucose. Read out how Insulin pumps differ from injections.
These mistakes some times occur in Hospitals also. Since hospital staff is used to 40 U insulin, so patients who are using 100 unit insulin and carry insulin with them, may accidentally get 2.5 times high amount of insulin dose due to hospital staff using patients insulin vial of 100 U but syringe is wrongly used as 40 U.
Thus for injecting insulin it is crucial and important to inject the right insulin strength with the right syringe. In addition to markings, 40 U syringes have a red cap while 100 U syringes have an orange cap.
If insulin is cloudy type then roll the insulin vial between your palms for 8 to 10 times so that it mixes properly. Now whatever units you want to inject draw that much of air in syringe and push this air into the vial.
It is very easy to identify insulin strength as well as syringe type but still mistakes do occur and often occur. diabeteshormone.com has a full presentation on its online classes on this aspect. Dr. Sunil M Jain, endocrinologist says that if a patient is prescribed 100 U strength insulin then he should be explained in detail about syringe insulin match.
The author is a doctor by profession and experienced writer with an enthusiastic interest in health industry, expertise in taking Insulin Pump, diabetes recipes etc. Check out the latest diabetes updates.
Article By: Dr. Sunil Jain
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