Re-Using Lancets; Good or Bad

By Anonymous Latest Reply 2010-02-03 17:02:07 -0600
Started 2010-01-27 07:22:28 -0600

I really don't know why I reuse my lancets; but I do. I have plenty of them, but I feel it is a waste to use them more than once, I gess. Does this affect my blood sugars.. In the morning they are always high…

67 replies

Kira_xo 2010-02-03 14:23:38 -0600 Report

I re-use lancets all the time. Even my doctor said it was fine to use it a few times before tossing it. I probably use one lancet per day and I've never had an issue. Beware tho, if you over use one lancet, it may become dull and be a bit more painful when you're pricking yourself and may make it harder to draw blood.

MAYS 2010-02-03 12:55:56 -0600 Report

Here is the link to Diabetes Health Magazines article on re-using lancets, there are pros and cons to this as there is to everything and various personal opinions, ultimately the choice to or not to will be made by you, yourself.

MAYS 2010-02-01 17:33:01 -0600 Report

I am not an advocate of reusing lancets, but if you do just take some sort of precautions to protect yourself against the possibility of an infection.

Kirla 2010-02-01 17:17:52 -0600 Report

I used to use a new one for every test. My insurance company must of found out I stopped changing them. I only get test stips now. Haven't got new ones shipped to me in a long time. I still got like 300+ of them in a box. I now change them every 5-6 months. I think the last time I changed mine was last August while on vaction. At least I think I did.

MAYS 2010-02-01 17:23:56 -0600 Report

Wow … If it works for you then do it.
Doesn't that seem a bit too risky for your health and safety, but as I said, if it works and you're fine, do it !

Kirla 2010-02-01 20:43:43 -0600 Report

Have you ever heard of anyone getting an infection from reusing the lancets. I never had but I've only been diabetic for a short time.

kdroberts 2010-02-03 12:42:00 -0600 Report

That's the key thing. I know many, many people of all ages and different health conditions who re-use lancets and needles for a long time, I've never heard any of them complain that they got an infection from doing so. I've looked online and haven't found anything that shows a link between re-using this type of thing and an increase in infection rates either. Lastly, no one who says that it's a factor for increased infections has ever tried to prove it to anyone or even said how it would increase the chances of infection. It seems that it's really just hearsay, paranoia and rumor with nothing other than maybe a second hand story to back it up.

donna13 2010-02-01 10:32:39 -0600 Report

I went to the library and got the book "50 diabetes myths" that someone had recommended. In it was the comment, ADA recommends you use a new needle (syringe or lancet) every time you test, but there is no iron-clad rule. You can reuse these items if you take precautions. But they did say that you should not clean the needle with alcohol (I believe they were talking about syringes) as this would remove the coating that helps it glide smoothly into your skin. Just fyi.

Anne56 2010-01-30 20:53:08 -0600 Report

My first week of insulin therapy had me using a new lancet each poke… that changed in week two! Like you, it seemed a waste in an increasingly aware green world. I do wash my hands well with antibacterial soap before I test and think that is a good-enough precaution. As for needles, I am more dedicated to one use — I am a little afraid that the ultra fine needles get quickly dull. Also, I don't know anything about the potential of "infecting" the insulin in the bottle with a second use of the needle. A final consideration for me is that I have two toddlers at my home most days and want used needles disposed of immediately.

In my hometown, anyone may purchase a package of ten needles without a prescription - not sure if this is federal, state, or county regs. The purchase includes a brochure-type flyer that advises users to not use needles more than once, do not share with anyone, etc… BUT IF YOU DO reuse or share, be sure to clean with bleach.

elaines 2010-01-29 18:24:11 -0600 Report

Of course it is best to use a new lancet each time but I have been a diabetic 22 years and when starting out I reused and had no problems with my sugars or infections. Maybe try to clean them so at least they are sterile. Most important, don;t stop checking your sugars.

Anonymous 2010-01-30 19:57:41 -0600 Report

I reuse lancets and sometimes needles on myself. I am curious what those of you who are saying "sterilize" mean by that. Wiping with alcohol certainly isn't going to sterilize anything and the lancets I use could not be boiled (which boiling metal objects alone would sterilize) due to plastic base on them.

MAYS 2010-01-30 20:11:31 -0600 Report

A common solution of water and bleach will suffice.

Anonymous 2010-01-30 20:21:41 -0600 Report

Depending on the concentration of bleach and the length of time in the solution that could "clean" a lancet, but it will never "sterilize" a lancet or anything else..just FYI

MAYS 2010-02-01 17:30:00 -0600 Report

Chlorine bleach is another accepted liquid sterilizing agent. Household bleach consists of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. It is usually diluted to 1/10 immediately before use; however to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis it should be diluted only 1/5, and 1/2.5 (1 part bleach and 1.5 parts water) to inactivate prions. The dilution factor must take into account the volume of any liquid waste that it is being used to sterilize.[17] Bleach will kill many organisms immediately, but for full sterilization it should be allowed to react for 20 minutes. Bleach will kill many, but not all spores. It is highly corrosive and may corrode even stainless steel surgical instruments.

Bleach decomposes over time when exposed to air, so fresh solutions should be made daily.

daniel velazco
daniel velazco 2010-01-30 20:04:01 -0600 Report

I have always reused my lancets till they become dull. I am the only one that use's the lancet and I have never had an infection. Dan

trey66 2010-01-29 17:48:54 -0600 Report

I use a fresh on everytime I test but I buy the Reli On products from Warlmart, you can get 200 ultra thin lancets for a couple of buck… they seem too last forever.

1968LeeLie 2010-01-29 17:30:14 -0600 Report

I re-use my lancets as well but always clean them with an alcohol swab right after use. At some point I will toss it for a new one only because they do tend to get dull. I have discussed this with my Doctor and she advised me the this is not reccomended but as long as I keep them clean should be ok and if I do get a weird reading for some odd reason, to recheck again with a fresh lancet.

packrat2 2010-01-28 10:54:41 -0600 Report

Who is going to know..?????

kdroberts 2010-01-28 12:28:25 -0600 Report

You would be surprised about how far insurance companies go to eliminate insurance fraud. It can and does happen on a regular basis. Even if the intentions are good it's no difference to walking into a store, picking a box of lancets/test strips off the shelf and walking out without paying for them. Added into it is a prescription is a federally regulated, legal document and by using one you are legally bound to not give the prescribed product to anyone other than the person it was prescribed to.

Samples of test strips,meters, needles or lancets (not prescription only items) you get from your doctor, fine to give away. Things you buy 100% of of your own pocket (again, non-prescription only items) are fine as well. Anything else, regardless of how people try to justify it, is illegal.

Anonymous 2010-01-28 23:22:41 -0600 Report

oh kd quit being so full of yourself. YOU are the one we should be looking out for. If someone tried to help another here, I am sure YOU would be the one and ONLY one to turn them in.

Elrond 2010-01-28 23:38:01 -0600 Report

Actually, if I use a fresh lancet for each test, it works out approximately even with very few spares. With 8 tests per day and the VA sending me a 90 day supply at a time, there are times I have tons of lancets. Near the end of the 90 days, the cupboard looks pretty bare. My present syringe supply is in that state and I always fret when I open the last box, wondering if they'll come through with the next shipment on time. A few times, they were late and I was forced to buy my own. Currently, I have $4.00 in cash and a bank account that is teetering on the brink until my disability check arrives. It's a good thing I have groceries.

kdroberts 2010-01-29 05:57:59 -0600 Report

No, but I have had to deal with phone calls from the FBI when they have subpoenas for medical records due to insurance fraud. It's up to the people involved, it doesn't bother me one bit if they get in trouble. I would feel bad if they got in trouble without realizing they could though and that is why I point it out.

salmanda 2010-01-29 06:06:45 -0600 Report

Just curious kd…what do you do for work? From what you were just saying and your knowledge about it, I was wondering. I know that you are not supposed to share your prescriptions with others, and I don't. I didn't realize it was a crime though. I just thought it was a safety thing. It makes sense though because there are so many drugs out there that are narcotics, etc. I just don't have a criminal mind! lol
Thank you for all the information you share with us.
Sal :)

kdroberts 2010-01-29 07:25:03 -0600 Report

Right now I'm not in the healthcare industry. My last job was at a company that was a medical claims clearinghouse and billing company with propitiatory software to do do that. I had to do constant HIPAA training, learn the ins and outs of medical billing and claims processing as well as the legalities regarding the industry. I forget the exact crime name but giving somebody something that was not prescribed for them is not far away from selling or trafficking illegal drugs. It's even worse if the prescription was for a controlled substance because some prescription drugs are in the same schedule as heroin. Safety is the reason behind the laws.

salmanda 2010-01-29 17:15:30 -0600 Report

That is scary because I know/have known folks over the years who think nothing of sharing their prescriptions with others. I'll bet they don't know how much trouble they could be in if caught! Not to mention what they could do to someone by giving them drugs not prescribed to them!
My dad was a pharmacist, so I never dare to share with anyone…not even someone in my own family.
Sal :)

Sue Turner
Sue Turner 2010-02-01 12:27:56 -0600 Report

If, for instance, someone was at your home, has diabetes, gets into trouble, and needs to have their BS checked, but doesn't have any lancets or test strips with them, what would you do? Would you use yours to help them out, or just let them go, and maybe have a critical/life threatening incident? Just curious!

kdroberts 2010-02-01 12:44:31 -0600 Report

I would (and have) used what I have on hand but I periodically buy a vial of 25 to have spares if I or anyone else needs them. I believe there is provisions in the federal laws to allow you to administer RX medications in life or death cases (although civil suits and other laws would apply, for instance if you injured somebody or killed them) but you would still have to deal with the insurance company. If I was in a situation and needed to use some of my glucagon then I would and I would refill the prescription on my own dime.

Deb-G 2010-02-01 12:55:03 -0600 Report

Most of us have needles and lancets coming out our butts if its provided by our Ins Co…I pay for my insurance, and I dont mind sharing extra's or if my Rx changes and then i have cast offs, or if I try something new giving the old away instead of trashing it, yadda yadda yadda…

I dont think anyone was suggesting being a permanent supplier lol…or fraud…

I never do this with prescription drugs of course but alot of us i'm sure have supplies that arrive regularly as part of our benefits…Last I checked they didn't want their needles back…so they get used atleast…

Give me a break… :D

Sue Turner
Sue Turner 2010-02-01 12:13:54 -0600 Report

My husband and I both are in the medical field, and own an insurance billing company…Most of the insurance fraud has come about because of doctors doing unnecessary tests, and treatments on their patients, and billing the insurance companies for treatments that they did not do! I have worked with doctors for years, and I know this to be a fact!

kdroberts 2010-02-01 12:25:52 -0600 Report

So you must be aware that getting insurance to pay for something and then giving it to somebody else is prohibited and classed as fraud.

Sue Turner
Sue Turner 2010-02-01 12:37:32 -0600 Report

I am aware of all the HIPAA laws and regulations/fraudulent laws, et al… But, what does all of this have to do with the question at hand, that being the concern from the Poster of wheather or not to re-use lancets, and the affect on blood sugars????

Sue Turner
Sue Turner 2010-02-01 12:02:42 -0600 Report

That's what I say, who the H_____is going to know? No wonder our country is in the mess it's in! The Government would rather we be wasteful, than help out some less fortunate, struggling person deserving of some help!!!!

salmanda 2010-02-01 18:57:07 -0600 Report

I was referring to prescription drugs. I would help someone at my house if they needed test strips and lancets…no problem.
Sal :)

Elrond 2010-01-28 02:37:59 -0600 Report

Personally, I use a fresh lancet every time but the VA supplies tons of the things. If I don't use them, they keep building up and I run out of storage room. I test 8 times a day and they just keep sending lancets & test strips to cover that. If I were to cut back on testing, my 'med drawer' would quickly overflow.

2010-01-28 10:17:55 -0600 Report

Elrond dear, have you ever thought of donating your 'extras" to those who can't afford. Sometimes thats how I get my test strips. My mom gets extras and i happily accept them. At 25.00 a case it adds up. I was just wondering.

Deb-G 2010-01-29 22:06:26 -0600 Report

Its your benefit, do what you want with it I say…definitely better to be used then expire and waste :)

MAYS 2010-02-01 10:06:49 -0600 Report

Elrond, seeing that you say the VA supplies you with your diabetes monitoring supplies, I take it that you served in the Armed Forces in some capacity, if so in my opinion the USA\VA and Americans owe you a debt of gratitude and you have earned all of the benefits thereof. (Thank You)
" Mays "

Turtle 2010-01-28 01:18:54 -0600 Report

I reuse without cleaning. The big deal is they go from really sharp to dull with a possible hook or spike at the end.


spiritwalker 2010-01-27 15:23:24 -0600 Report

Lancets are self contained. As long as you are the only person that uses the lancet device you should be fine.
I use mine until they are dull.

packrat2 2010-01-27 18:52:14 -0600 Report

yes this has been a hot topic…I will go along with ptsparkle and spiritwalker.{reuse}…packrat2

jaclyncrystal 2010-01-29 18:22:18 -0600 Report

like a lot of others here, my lancets are inside my device always inside and away from the air and others and I use them many times over, have never had a problem and have been using them for years (no not the same ones, just the devices) my private disclaimer incase someone informs on me (lol)

ptsparkle 2010-01-27 10:46:20 -0600 Report

I use mine for weeks or months on end. I also have tons of new ones, just change when I feel they are getting dull. I don't reccomend this, it is a personal decision. Same goes for syringes for me. I use mine twice. That can become a hot topic.

MAYS 2010-01-27 10:40:49 -0600 Report

The concern should be about possible infections which can do more harm than inaccurate meter readings.
Again I must stress this point, if you must reuse them
remove them from your pricking device, sterilize them and replace the cap on the lancet until you are about to use it again.
It's time consuming but necessary for this reason:
Failure to do so will allow germs to accumulate on the needle, setting you up for possible infection.

kdroberts 2010-01-27 10:49:14 -0600 Report

"Again I must stress this point, if you must reuse them
remove them from your pricking device, sterilize them and replace the cap on the lancet until you are about to use it again. It's time consuming but necessary"

It's also impossible to do with some devices.

MAYS 2010-01-27 10:58:21 -0600 Report

I agree, if this is the case then you must take a few minutes to sterilize the lancet seconds before actually using it, anything sterilized and left to sit becomes contaminated by airborne germs quickly, my purpose in stressing recapping the lancets tip.

kdroberts 2010-01-27 11:03:48 -0600 Report

Again, some are impossible to do that with. Not all devices use individual lancets, some use discs or drums that are internal to the lancing device and cannot bee seen, capped, cleaned or sterilized without removing the drum or disc and soaking them. Doing so makes the entire drum or disc useless since it will no longer work.

MAYS 2010-01-30 09:59:02 -0600 Report

What's more costly, medical treatment for an infection or the cost saved by reusing a lancet ?
To each his \ her own, personally I don't recommend reusing lancets.

kdroberts 2010-01-30 19:06:59 -0600 Report

Probably the lancets. I know they will cost me around $450 per year if I used one per test. I put the chance of infection low, maybe 1 time in 5 years that would require medical treatment. That would be $2250 for lancets or $40 for a couple of doctor visits and maybe $30 for antibiotics if needed, call it $100. I'd like to keep the $2150 personally.

Sally Thomas
Sally Thomas 2010-01-27 10:29:25 -0600 Report

I so rarely change mine-I think my dr would have a fit if he knew! Lol! I simply keep it in the "finger poker" until it feels dull or hurts and then I change it. I haven't had any problems with it affecting my readings at all.

griz104 2010-01-27 10:17:49 -0600 Report

Like yourself i also re-use my lancets.. but like everyone else says clean them after every use..But i figure as long as something works use it..again and again…

2010-01-27 09:21:23 -0600 Report

I am very OCD about being clean, so I do not do such things as that. But everyone is different.

thiruvelan 2010-01-27 08:21:26 -0600 Report

For financial reasons you need to reuse, sterilize it. But reuse no way affect your blood glucose level.

kdroberts 2010-01-27 08:02:41 -0600 Report

It shouldn't have any impact on your blood sugars. I don't know how many times I reuse a lancet, maybe 250 times or more and I've not had a problem yet. Others reuse a lot more than I do. I use the multiclix so the lancets are all in a self contained drum and it's impossible to do anything to them so i don't clean, sterilize or do anything else to them.

Cricket Crafter
Cricket Crafter 2010-01-27 08:05:51 -0600 Report

Well, it is in that type of container, always closed and also always put away in the case…But I really don't know how long it has been used…Maybe cleaning it would be a good idea. Thanks

MAYS 2010-01-27 07:57:05 -0600 Report

You really shouldn't but if you must for financial reasons,
please sterilize them, if not you increase the risk of an infection.
Follow these steps.
Use it
Remove it
Sterilize it
Recap it
Do this no more than 4 times per lancet then discard !

Hinboyz3 2010-01-27 07:25:27 -0600 Report

I finding more and more people are re-using them, especially when a lot of us don't have any insurance to pay for them. Every now and then I do especially when Im getting low on them. Clean them with some alcohol should help keep them clean. It depends on the person I think.