Home » Diabetes » How Emerging Needle Technology Is Making Insulin Injections Easier and Less Painful

Thinner needles are easing patient anxiety about taking their injectable diabetes medicine.

The American Diabetes Association reports over 30 million Americans have diabetes. Many inject insulin or GLP-1 RAs to regulate their blood sugar and some patients need combined or multiple daily injections, but not all patients are properly using the medicine, and some may not be using it at all. Often that’s because patients need to self-inject, a process that may be painful and cause anxiety.

In one study, Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs (DAWN) found that a third of patients “dreaded” their insulin injections and 22 percent had to mentally prepare themselves for the shots. Another study found 20 percent of respondents skipped insulin doses and a third study of 27,000 type 2 diabetics, who were newly prescribed insulin, showed 4.5 percent didn’t fill their first prescription and, of those that did, over 25 percent never refilled the initial prescription.

Needle innovations

Proper injection technique helps people with diabetes achieve the best possible health outcomes by ensuring that the precise dose of medication is delivered to the right injection site in the most comfortable manner.

Droplet is the first and only national pen needle brand using 32G — the thinnest gauge needles with the thinnest needle walls — across all lengths, which range from 4 mm to 8 mm. Droplet is to be used with a pen injector device to subcutaneously inject diabetes medicines, such as insulin and GLP-1 RAs. Pen needles should only be used once and then disposed.

“If a patient is making the effort to manage their diabetes by taking their medication, they should benefit from the best technology, the best innovation that’s going to make their injection experience more comfortable,” says pharmacist Anu Rajora, director of medical marketing and medical affairs for Droplet.

The goal of these thin needles is to minimize injection pain, making it more comfortable, so patients have less anxiety and reap the benefits of taking their insulin as prescribed.

“Our target is to make a very thin needle and a short needle to avoid the patient’s fear of the needle,” says Luca Leonardi, research and development manager for Droplet.

The internal diameter of the needle is important too. Droplet is also the first and only brand using ultra-thin wall needles across all needle lengths.

The thinner the needle wall, the better. The thinner needle wall allows for a larger internal opening, which produces higher flow rates of insulin and patients report the injections are comfortable. There’s a lot less effort required to activate the pen too.

“As the needle wall gets thinner, there’s evidence that a lower force is needed to activate the pen,” says Rajora, noting diabetics have decreased hand strength over time. “We’re helping patients perform proper injection technique, which is directly correlated to improved A1c levels. We encourage all injectors to review their technique with their pharmacist or doctor annually.”

Improved patient experiences

This new technology is a welcome relief to patients who know they need their diabetes medicine, but worry about the injections. While these thin gauge needles are cutting edge, even thinner needles are forecasted for future applications to help ensure people injecting diabetes medicines, such as insulin or GLP-1 RAs, take them.

“The goal is for patients with diabetes to be able to reach and maintain healthy A1c levels by managing their lifestyle and taking their medicines as prescribed, not only to prevent progression, but also to prevent complications. We want them to be healthy and live their best lives,” says Rajora.

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