Product guide written by Diabetes Expert: Sue Marshall




BD (or Becton-Dickinson) is a brand name in the world of needles. A brand familiar to many of us who have to take insulin injections. Many of us will recall BD disposible syringes, indeed some may still use them.

4mm needles

For those that moved on to insulin injection pens, then you may be using existing BD needles. Here we have a new, smaller-than-ever-before needle, coming in at only 4mm. So is smaller better? Based on the research undertake, it seems that it is.

There are a couple of factors. First, injections should be subcutaneous (under the skin) and not intra-muscular.

Pinch or fold skin?

There have been debates over the years about whether to not to pinch a fold of skin to inject into. There are arguments both for and against. This new shorter needle actually takes away the need to pinch a fold of skin.

Intra-muscular injections

Research has shown that the incidence of an intra-muscular injection with a 12.7mm needle is 45% as it’s big enough to go through the skin, the layer of fat we all have under the skin, and straight into muscle. The risk of an intra-muscular injection is minimised with the 4mm pen needle.

With a 90° insertion angle and no lifted skin fold, there is no risk of intra-dermal injections but the risk of an intra-muscular injection dramatically increases with needle length.

With poor blood glucose control due to intra-muscular injections it is clear why a lifted skin fold has often been recommended in the past. Unfortunately research has shown that almost two thirds of people with diabetes who inject do not use a lifted skin fold when injecting, with the subsequent increased risk of an intramuscular injection.

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