90% insulin users in India reusing needles: Survey

Sakal Times
Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Pune: A survey by city-based Chellaram Diabetes Institute (CDI) has found that around 90 per cent of diabetic patients in India, who are injecting insulin, have been reusing needles. This puts the patient at a higher risk of getting infections.

Doctors from the institute spoke about the need for more awareness amongst patients who are injecting insulin. They were speaking in the backdrop of the guidelines released by Forum for Injection Technique and Therapy Expert Recommendations (FITTER) India 2017, recently. 

Pune: A survey by city-based Chellaram Diabetes Institute (CDI) has found that around 90 per cent of diabetic patients in India, who are injecting insulin, have been reusing needles. This puts the patient at a higher risk of getting infections.

Doctors from the institute spoke about the need for more awareness amongst patients who are injecting insulin. They were speaking in the backdrop of the guidelines released by Forum for Injection Technique and Therapy Expert Recommendations (FITTER) India 2017, recently. 

Commenting on the scenario of diabetes and insulin in India, Dr AG Unnikrishnan, Chief Endocrinologist, Chellaram Diabetes Institute, said that around 42 countries participate in the survey undertaken by FITTER before it releases its guidelines. Around 1,000 patients from across India were surveyed from 20 centres.
“Chellaram Diabetes Institute surveyed 40 patients. The overall survey from India has highlighted that 92.5 per cent patients injecting insulin were found to be reusing the needle. Out of these, around 44.2 per cent were reusing the needle three to five times, while 24.5 per cent were reusing the needle six to ten times. Apart from this, 17.5 per cent were found to be reusing the needle over ten times, which is alarming,” said Dr Unnikrishnan. He further added that around 80.5 per cent were also found to be reusing the syringe used for injecting insulin. 
Dr Vedavati Purandare, MD Medicine, Consultant Physician, Chellaram Diabetes Institute, said that this is one of the largest surveys of its kind ever performed in diabetes, and provides landmark data on Indian injectors.

“Despite the fact that India is ahead of the curve in using the shortest needles, there is a disturbingly high rate of needle reuse, with both syringes and pens. The patients reuse their syringes mostly for convenience or to save costs. Reuse of needles or syringes can cause bleeding and even lead to infections in patients. A needle or a syringe should be used just once,” said Purandare.

Recommendations by FITTER 
* The shortest needles, currently 4 mm for pens and 6 mm in syringes, are safe, effective and less painful, and should be the first line of choice in all patient categories.
* Regular inspection of injection sites, preventing reuse of needle and correct site rotation influence the success of insulin injection therapy.
* FITTER India recommends that ideally needles should not be reused, as blunt needles can damage tissues, resulting in injection pain, and can also result in a higher dose of insulin, leading to higher therapy cost burden to the patient. 

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