By Fyuter Latest Reply 2012-03-26 12:05:25 -0500
Started 2011-10-24 15:53:13 -0500

Is it okay, to reuse needles just once? What do you guys think? Needles can get costly, and it sucks that I have to use 4 needles a day, buy a box of 100 needles and only be able to use it for only 25 days!

153 replies

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-26 12:04:39 -0500 Report

I know, I should let this die, but a light bulb moment hit me in the shower. I shave in the shower and replace my disposable razor about every 2 weeks. Guess what? I suspect my chance of infection is at least 100 times greater with the razor than reusing a needle. The razor sits on the shelf of the shower, I occasionaly cut myself…guess I need to replace my razor after each use.

kdroberts 2012-03-19 20:35:13 -0500 Report

I did a few quick calculations and figure I've reused needles for about 8000 injections and reused lancets about 15,000 times with no issues. Those odds are fine for me. Especially when you add in that there is no medical evidence that reusing them increases your chance of infection.

KarynCandy29 2012-03-18 13:02:17 -0500 Report

You are not supposed to, but I do know people who do. The problems\ of re-using a needle would/could include the following:
Needle not as sharp, therefore making it harder to give injection.
Needle not sterile, increasing the chances of germs (even from the air) and infections.
Accidentally bending the needle and not noticing it.
Contaminating insulin by inserting a dirty needle into the vial. can cause extreme damage to the vein…

Diabetics have enough problems without accidentally adding to them by re-using needles. Why take a chance with your health?Just my two cents

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-19 10:36:56 -0500 Report

Point well taken. Always glad to see you in my inbox! I have never had an issue with the sharpness. I know I can get about 10 injections per needle before any problems start. The germs in the air are available to a new needle as well as a used one. I have bent a needle, usually it is because I am not paying attention.
The needle may not be sterile, but I don't think I would classify it as dirty since my skin is clean before injection. When I inject into my stomach, it is not going into my vein. I take chances everyday…I drive. Higher chance of me being in an accident then getting an infection from my own needle. So there is my two cents and I raise you .03! Stay well my friend. Jim

Armourer 2012-03-17 01:36:03 -0500 Report

Okay, yes, you should change with every prick & injection to avoid infection & other problems, but I don't, I can't afford the expense, so I use mine till they get dull and hurt to stick in. I know "I'm a baaaad boy."

JSJB 2012-03-16 04:59:00 -0500 Report

People People People, we all have a problem. Why do you want to create more problems??? Just because you are lucky by not getting any infections doesn't you wont get one. Now you have another problem to contend with. If it is the expence of the needles, try to cut costs in other areas to be on the safe side.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-16 14:08:20 -0500 Report

I have found that after about 12 injections the needle begins to dull, so I take it out to my shop, sharpen it on a sharpening stone, dip it in a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). There are 3 bleach solution buckets. The first one removes any sanding grit, the 2nd and 3rd are just extra precautions. After a bit, I dump the 1st one and move the 2nd one to its place and #3 goes to #2 and a new solution is put into #1. By doing this I can use the same needle twice a day for a year. At .12 per needle I can save over $85.00 a year. Well, actually only $80.00 a year once you minus the cost of bleach.
I hope you are at least smiling…Jim

JSJB 2012-03-16 17:42:10 -0500 Report

WOW 80.00 a year and what would the expence be if you screwed up one time and did not completely clean the needle.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-16 17:51:43 -0500 Report

I actually don't clean my needle at all. I inject with the same needle twice a day for 5 days. Where can the needle get contaminated from? If one says, your skin, well, that is the same skin that a new needle would be going into. My needle is out of its protective shield for less than a minute. I keep the bathroom clean, which is where I inject. So my chances of any contamination are so remote that I do not worry about it. I feel my chance of contaimination with a new needle are about as great. I live by myself and work at a Children's camp, making 26k a year. Out of that comes my mortgage of $600, Gas about $500, and everything else. If I made 75k a year, I would be willing to do the same.
Have your skin clean, exercise reasonable care of your needle, and inject until it hurts. 2012-01-16 19:29:41 -0600 Report

Yes well all reuse our needles and yes it is not health but show me someone who uses them once and I will show you a newbie.. and the same goes for the lancets the saying goes during day lite saveing is when you change your lancets… lol

Jan8 2012-01-17 08:36:20 -0600 Report

I agree with tesse. I just make sure I use alcohol on them. sigh I wish it was a Long island Ice Tea.( not that typte of alcohol}sigh

Set apart
Set apart 2012-03-16 21:09:16 -0500 Report

I am so with you on this one girlfriend, not that I drank to indulge, but a nice dinner along with a few sweet drinks sounds heavenly! I reuse my needles, it just seems easier, now I am not sure, lack of training? Now I've got some thinking to do!

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-16 13:59:48 -0500 Report

You sighed. That alcohol will disinfect as well as rubbing alcohol. The best way to use it is to pour a cup (I prefer brandy) into a glass, take a cotton swab (can't say Q-tip) dab it in the alcohol and wipe it on your skin. Set the glass in a safe place. Inject. Drink the contents of the glass. When not mixed, alcohol decreases your BS.
I change my testing needle at least once a quarter. With 2 jabs a day, I change my injecting needle about every 5 days.

Jan8 2012-03-16 14:10:14 -0500 Report

WoW Jim, If I drink any kind of alcohol it may go down but then it's a mess for the day. Wish I could do that! I have to inject 4x day and sometimes more.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2012-03-16 14:18:58 -0500 Report

Wow, that is a lot of Brandy. Maybe you could get a case discount! or maybe it would go so low you wouldn't need to inject anymore. But wait, if you don't need to inject, then you won't need the brandy to disinfect. A true Catch 22.

Jan8 2012-03-16 14:35:59 -0500 Report

LOL Okay Jim I think you'r idea is getting better and better. Yep a real catch 22.

Bobbie34 2012-01-09 16:57:09 -0600 Report

We can all re use needles, It's not healthy though, if you're injecting it's because you're taking care of yourself and by reusing needles you're exposing to staphylococcus. A new medication will arrive to Canada and USA this February, It reduces diabetes type II symptoms, clinical tests show no adverse effects

jtorske 2012-01-09 10:17:03 -0600 Report

money and limited finances should never be an excuse for proper and save care of your precious body. I would not reuse needles with my son because I want the best care for him and once used, a needle is no longer completely sterile. If there was an emergency, I would consider reusing one. My decision is always made in the best interest of my son.

Okiedude 2012-01-21 14:39:11 -0600 Report

However, a LOT of folks who inject are living on low or fixed incomes. So saving just a dollar a day can be a big thing.

hotwhllvr79 2012-01-09 07:18:13 -0600 Report

i reuse needles. I shouldn't, b/c they only cost $11 a box at Walmart (I am uninsured). But here's TWO things to know, from a 30-year diabetic…First, if you use two different insulins, each time you reuse that syringe, you are mixing the insulins a tiny bit from the residue that gets stuck each time. I use R and N, and I have to make sure not to reuse the needle after it's been in the N, b/c I don't want N getting into R and reducing its effectiveness. Also, (I believe) the more times you use a needle, the more blunt it gets, and the more scar tissue you get. Kind of like the scenario of a tattoo. So, (if) you decide to reuse, make sure not to do it more than 2-3 times, and make sure not to cross-contaminate your insulins.

Armourer 2012-01-08 23:56:41 -0600 Report

Lancets & needles I rarely change much to my DDiet advice. I change them when it starts to really hurt. I use pen for both insulins, but I do have a box of needles, etc. for the one time the pharmacy was out of pens & had to use bottles. I did the same thing, rarely changed the needle. Now my father-in-law changes them each time because he doesn't have to pay for them. Infection is the problem, & of course DO NOT share the same needle with anybody! For me though I use the pens for they are only 1cent more then needle & syringe.

w8chd 2012-01-08 21:53:52 -0600 Report

Sounds like most of us reuse something. I will reuse needles if finances run low at the same time as my needle supply. When I became diabetic I got a pack of lancets. I think it had 200 in it. I still have most of them and have never bought any. That was 10 years ago. You have to do what you can to keep costs down.

Caroltoo 2012-01-08 22:30:19 -0600 Report

Oh, me, too. My doctor keeps offering me more and I'm embarrassed to tell her the only time I ever change one is before and after letting someone other than myself use the glucometer.

cindygal1 2012-01-08 20:15:22 -0600 Report

I don't think that using a needle more than I think it would not good I think you need to change your needle every time that you take your blood, I am lucky mine only cost me about mine is not that expense but as a caution I would only use the needle once.

demetria1969 2012-01-08 15:26:13 -0600 Report

hello I know that this was posted some time ago ,but I feel that we should use a new needle every time. I am starting a club to help offset some of the cost to newly D club members. And have even gone to some of the nedle exchange spots that I send my clients to. It is about ten needles a spot., but for now it allows me another five days of dosing at two a day.

sweetkyfirefly83 2012-01-08 15:16:08 -0600 Report

Fyuter, I completely understand where you are coming from. I reuse needles when I am out and about running errands. Its difficult to pack around a box full of needles.

'Second Chance'
'Second Chance' 2012-01-08 14:13:14 -0600 Report

Hi Fyuter, how are you? On your topic concerning 'needles', I'm with you on how exspensive they can get!!! Sometimes I use a needle twice if I don't get a good prick. But to be on the safe side, you should ask your Dr. Nether the less, stay encouraged, and keep control of your Diabetes!!! If I can be of any help, please don't hesitate to call on me!!! Hang in there!!!

dietcherry 2011-11-08 19:16:01 -0600 Report

Something I wanted to share from the October issue of Consumer Reports magazine since we touched on it here:
Hydrogen peroxide is not the wound-care wonder you think it is. The properties in it that kill bacteria can actually damage healthy cell tissue. The same is true of other disinfectants such as alcohol and iodine. They rarely cause serious harm but could slow healing time. Studies show that rinsing with soap and water is atleast as effective at preventing infection.

Kf6krc 2011-11-04 05:24:47 -0500 Report

I check my blood sugar 3 to 4 times a day, I use Levimir flex pen 1 time a day and novolog 2 times a day. My lancets for pricking my fingers get changed maybe every 6 months, my flex pen needles get changed when I get a new flex pen, and with my novolog I use a new needle every day.
Now I have never had a problem with this and never had a bad reading with my BG meter. I am not saying this is the right thing to do but I feel as long as you do not leave the needles exposed to the elements ( keeping the covers on them) you may not have any problems.
I work with a few people that are diabetic and we all will forget our meters and we sometimes share but when we do we always use new lancets and dispose of them after use.
Now everyone is trying everything to save a buck and people are going to reuse just about anything they can. We all pay a lot of money for our health care and our health care insurance is covering less every year.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-11-03 13:02:11 -0500 Report

Okay, I have come across the final definitive answer. I know, you are all in suspense. It depends! I use the BD ultra fine needles. On the 5th jab the needle bends. So, my suspicion is that it depends on who manufactures them.

dietcherry 2011-11-04 00:04:56 -0500 Report

You forgot the drumroll…

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-11-04 10:09:48 -0500 Report

:) Don't know how to type a drum roll!

KarynCandy29 2012-03-16 15:24:20 -0500 Report



this is described as a "rim shot" (more technically a "sting") and consists of two beats followed by a final, louder one, a cymbal or bass note.

This would be similar to "ba-dum-DUM" or "ba-dum-TSH" (an actual hit on the other drumstick sitting on the rim

~Karyn Takes a Bow~

dietcherry 2011-11-04 10:41:22 -0500 Report

I googled it and couldnt find anything; however, the drum after the punchline of a joke goes ba dum ching! This is of national importance so use it bravely and wisely!!

dietcherry 2011-11-04 12:48:36 -0500 Report

I dont know but Im sure its taking up valuable head room where I should be storing the 22nd Presidents' name or my cell phone number

Dixiemom 2011-11-01 10:21:16 -0500 Report

I'm going to have nightmares after reading how so many of you reuse your needles, syringes and lancets. I guess my nursing arts instructor did a real good job of brainwashing us nursing students back in the dark ages.

Jan8 2012-01-17 08:41:02 -0600 Report

I was brain washed in nursing school too. But, we are at home. Not exposed to all the staph infections in the hospital. If I ever see any redness I would quit double use of any kind of needle.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-11-03 13:05:45 -0500 Report

Well, i am sure reuse is not the best course, but in the nursing setting the chance of using a used needle on someone else gets multiplied. What is being discussed here is using the needle on the same person. Also, in a medical setting, insurance is usually paying for the whole needle. My insurance company pays a small proportion of the cost because the needle is "hardware" and not a drug.

nanaellen 2011-10-31 15:36:34 -0500 Report

When I had no insurance I too tried to re-use my syringes because of the costs but ended up with some nasty bruises!! And the diabeties nurse told me never to re-use!! Lancets are same thing, you won't get accurate readings and risk infection. Just so you know.

jayabee52 2011-11-01 06:29:23 -0500 Report

why wouldn't readings be accurate if re-using a lancet?

Dixiemom 2011-11-01 09:59:02 -0500 Report

Because you do not know how much dried blood is left on the lancet. You can't wipe off a lancet with alcohol. I remember back in the dark ages, before disposables became the vogue, we sterilized all needles and syringes. We also had an emory stone to rub off any burrs tha were on a needle and to sharpen it before it was packaged and sterilized. Yes, I'm a retired RN and wouldn't dream of reusing a needle, unless I sterilized it first.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-01 08:55:06 -0500 Report

Because the manufacturers say so. In theory the lancet could become contaminated and cause your readinds to be off. Besides they need the money. Anything to milk the consumer, insurance companies and Medicare.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-11-02 15:11:35 -0500 Report

Thats correct. Re-uses as no-nos are just statements made without search or studies to back them up. Even if the lancet becomes contaminated by using the second drop of blood that an inaccuracy can be eliminated.

kdroberts 2011-11-01 11:55:43 -0500 Report

No. No studies to show that refusing lancets affects blood sugar readings and no studies that show you have an increased chance of infection by refusing lances iodine needles. There really isn't much theory behind any of those either.

MoeGig 2011-10-29 09:30:20 -0500 Report

I re-use needles until they get dull…same with lancets. I take 2-3 shots per day and test 3-4 times per day. Never had a problem in 40 years. One thing I do avoid is taking shots or testing in public bathrooms. Also, make sure my hands are clean, at least. If I'm in a public place (restaurant, airline terminal, etc) I just try to be discreet.

judy makowski
judy makowski 2012-01-17 05:45:52 -0600 Report

I take 5 shots a day and test 4-5 times a day and couldn't afford to buy all the needles and lancets. I wipe them off with alcohl as best I can, do the same for my skin, let it dry (that way the alcohol doesn't stinkg as much) and wipe them off before I put them away until the next time. May not be perfect but it's the best I can do.

judy makowski
judy makowski 2012-01-17 05:46:01 -0600 Report

I take 5 shots a day and test 4-5 times a day and couldn't afford to buy all the needles and lancets. I wipe them off with alcohl as best I can, do the same for my skin, let it dry (that way the alcohol doesn't stinkg as much) and wipe them off before I put them away until the next time. May not be perfect but it's the best I can do.

KE5ICS 2011-10-28 03:12:19 -0500 Report

Guys I do not know about needles but the lancet issue is true due to personal testing of my own please don't use them more than once. if you want to check into it go to EBAY and look up your particular type of lancet and you may find the prices cheaper that dust also ask the seller to send you an invoice so the these items can be claimed on your taxes…make uncle sam give it back make them help out. HAPPY PRICKING!…OUCH!!!!

kdroberts 2011-10-28 21:03:12 -0500 Report

They can be claimed on taxes but I doubt that many people are able to since you can only claim medical expenses over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-10-28 19:01:25 -0500 Report

I have no idea how many times I use a lancet. Let's see. I got my new one in April or May and test 3-4 times a day. It is now almost November. I guess it is time to change it. I test below my elbow, not on my fingers. So, I guess without doing an exact figuring, 180 days x 3, I guess I use it for 600-800 test. Never had a problem.

nzingha 2011-10-28 22:56:23 -0500 Report

i make sure i wash or wipe the area and i use those lancets and needles over and far no problem… i shower and swim a lot so my body is always clean…no problem…