The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

U.S. News

CDC Warns Against Sharing Insulin Pens

January 20, 2012

CDC has issued a new clinical reminder that using insulin pens on more than one person puts patients at risk for blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV. Pens containing multiple doses of insulin are meant for use on a single patient only, and they should never be used on more than one person. Infection can occur even when a pen's needle is changed, CDC said.

The guidance applies in any setting where insulin pens are used, including health care facilities, assisted living or residential care centers, health fairs, shelters, detention centers, senior centers, schools, and camps, according to the agency. Insulin pens should be clearly labeled with the patient's name or other identifying information to ensure the right pen is used only on the right patient.

If re-use of an insulin pen occurs, exposed patients should be immediately notified and offered blood-borne pathogen testing as part of appropriate follow-up. Hospitals and other facilities should review their policies with staff and provide education regarding safe use of insulin pens and similar devices.

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration issued a similar alert to health care professionals following reports of improper insulin pen use in hospitals. Despite that warning, reports of patients being placed at risk due to inappropriate re-use and sharing of pens have continued. An incident last year required notification of more than 2,000 potentially exposed patients, CDC said.

For more information, visit

Back to other news for January 2012

Adapted from:
USA Today
01.14.2012; HealthDay

  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More on Health Care Workers & HIV/AIDS

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining: