An Italian study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology, found that patients’ HbA1c dropped by an average of 0.6% three months after learning improved injection technique.
Training in proper technique was also associated with a reduction in fasting blood glucose of 14mg/dL and total daily insulin dose of 2.0IU.
Although doctors regularly discuss glucose control and dose adjustments with their patients, not enough time is spent trying to improve injection technique, despite it being ‘just as important’ in managing the disease, the researchers said.
University of Turin researchers asked around 350 diabetes patients to fill in a questionnaire about their injection technique. All had been injecting insulin for at least four years.
They were then given both general injection technique training and specialised training to address any specific problems flagged up by their questionnaire responses.
Among other lessons, patients were instructed not to reuse needles and taught how to correctly rotate injection sites to help avoid lipohypertrophy – a condition that affected half of the participants involved in the trial.
Study author Dr Kenneth Strauss said: ‘Patients and professionals do not have to wait for months and years to see improvement in the most important clinical parameters when appropriate injection training and devices are provided.
‘Not only does it improve glucose control, but patients were able to lower their consumption of insulin and learn better injection practices, making diabetes management simpler and improving quality of life.’