Patients are failing to follow diabetes advice

Insulin-treated diabetes patients are hampering their glucose control by failing to follow best practice when injecting, UK research suggests.

Diabetes patients using insulin are failing to follow best practice (Photograph: SPL)
Diabetes patients using insulin are failing to follow best practice (Photograph: SPL)

Debbie Hicks, a nurse consultant in diabetes at NHS Enfield community services, presented the results of a survey of diabetes patients last month at a meeting of the Forum for Injection Technique (FIT).

The survey involved almost 1,000 people with diabetes and mirrored a study conducted in 2000, allowing researchers to compare changes in injection technique over that time.

The researchers found that 41 per cent of patients using isophane insulin were failing to resuspend their insulin before injecting. In addition, most patients responding to the survey did not hold the needle in for sufficient time. Only 24 per cent kept the needle in after injecting for the recommended 10 seconds.

Some patients also tended to inject in the same sites, increasing their risk of developing lipohypertrophy, which may cause variability in the absorption of insulin, bruising and bleeding.

The researchers found that 13 per cent of people injected too frequently into the same site.

Ms Hicks, who co-chairs FIT, said good injection technique was one of the cornerstones of diabetes therapy using insulin and newer injectable diabetes therapies.

'It is vital people get it right, as poor technique can lead to these injectable therapies not being absorbed properly,' she said. 'This may cause immediate problems such as hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia.'

FIT now plans to look at the effectiveness of current teaching approaches for patients and healthcare professionals and is currently finalising recommendations for changes in current practice around injection technique.

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