The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued an alert to health care professionals reminding them that single-patient insulin pens and insulin cartridges should not be used to administer medication to multiple patients due to the potential risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and the hepatitis viruses.
Insulin pens are pen-shaped injector devices that contain a disposable needle and either an insulin reservoir or an insulin cartridge. The devices typically contain enough insulin for a patient to self-administer several doses of insulin before the reservoir or cartridge is empty. All insulin pens are approved only for single-patient use (one device for only one patient).
The FDA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and professional organizations to address infection control issues related to insulin pens.