What are the steps of insulin self-administration?

Updated: Oct 04, 2017
  • Author: Mini A Mathew, DO, PharmD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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The steps of insulin self-administration are as follows:

  1. Wash your hands

  2. Check the insulin bottle to make sure it has not expired

  3. In order to properly resuspend the insulin, vials should be carefully rolled between the palm of your hands several times (do NOT shake the vial or pen); prefilled pens should be rolled between the palms 10 times and inverted by 180° 10 times

  4. Remove the lid from the insulin bottle

  5. Wipe the rubber top of the bottle with an alcohol swab

  6. Remove the cap from the syringe

  7. Pull air into the syringe by pulling back on the plunger until its black tip is even with the line showing the dose you will need

  8. Push the needle through the rubber top of the bottle and push in the air

  9. Turn the insulin bottle and syringe upside down; to pull insulin into the syringe, slowly pull back on the plunger until the top of its black tip is even with the line showing your dose

  10. Choose an area: Front of thigh/lateral thigh, abdomen (the preferred site when faster absorption is required, and it may be less affected by muscle activity on exercise), buttocks (upper outer quadrant; may be useful in small children), lateral aspect of arm (in small children with little subcutaneous fat, intramuscular injection is more likely to cause unsightly bruising)

  11. Rotate the site daily

  12. Pinch up some skin and quickly insert the needle at a 90° angle (or whatever angle your doctor or nurse tells you); keep the skin pinched to avoid having the insulin go into the muscle

  13. Push the plunger down all the way; hold the syringe and needle in place for 5 seconds

  14. Let go of the pinched skin and remove the needle from the skin; if you see blood or clear fluid (insulin) where the needle went in, press on the area for 5-8 seconds but do not rub

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