Leakage When Filling Ping Cartridge

This description will be posted on Insulin-Pumpers, Juvenation, Joslin Message Boards, and Facebook/(I hate Diabetes (type 1)).

I have been using insulin for a little more than 68 years. During that time, insulin has always been supplied in 10 mL (or 10 cc) vials with a stopper, through which a needle with either a syringe or a cartridge was inserted. After all this experience, I have run into a new problem!

Five months ago, after my Deltec Cozmo pump quit working, I started using the Animas Ping pump. Since then I have noticed that almost every time I fill a new cartridge for the Ping, after I insert the filling needle into the vial, with cartridge attached, inject the air into the vial, and invert everything to start drawing insulin into the cartridge, several drops of insulin will leak from the vial around the outside of the filling needle where it passes through the stopper of the vial. Each drop is large enough to cause it to fall to the counter. I do not keep the pressure in the vial above atmospheric pressure except when I start to fill a cartridge.

I am using a standard Ping cartridge, supplied by Animas, with standard filling needle (don’t know the gauge), also supplied by Animas. I am using Humalog, so Eli Lilly supplies the vial and stopper.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? If you have, please identify the insulin you are using, because I suspect the problem may be in the combination of the vial stopper and the filling needle.

Tom Beatson


Hey Tom,

I saw this on the Facebook page and replied there, but I'll post it here, too.  :)

I always wondered if this happened to anyone else, but never asked! I use the same supplies as you - Ping pump and cartridges, Humalog insulin - and have the very same thing happen to me. I notice, though, that it tends to happen the more I've used the bottle - leading me to believe that the elasticity of the vial's stopper/barrier/whatever becomes increasingly compromised with use.

Thanks for bringing this up, Tom.

I too use the Ping and Humalog. I have only been on the pump for 6 months, and lately (about 2 months ago) started experiencing the same problem. It usually happens after the first time I use the vial. Its annoying as the insulin drips everywhere.

I use the same supplies and it also happens to me. I seem to lose a pretty good amount of insulin but I don't know how to stop it =(

If it happens the more you use the vial of insulin, I would think it has something to do with the stopper they put on the vial.  I use novolog, and this has never happened to me.  (However, I also use a Medtronic paradigm pump rather than an animas, so it's hard to say for sure).

Same thing happens to us.  I have found that when I first open a Humalog vial I do not need to put as much air into the vial as I am going to draw out.  So if I am drawing out 100 units, I will only put about 50 units of air into the vial.  After about the first 2 or 3 draws out of the vial I go back to putting in the same amount of air as I am drawing out insulin.  This has eliminated the leak for us.  I think Humalog vials must have a bit more back pressure in them so when you inject even more air in, the pressure forces the insulin out. The insulin takes the path of least resistance which seems to be from around the needle where it inserts into the stopper.

I also use all the same supplies and have noticed it leaked.  Since I've only been pumping since November, I thought it was just normal and didn't think to question it. 

BlessedMom - I will have to try your suggestion. 

I usually end up with a drop, but no more than that as long as I'm pretty gentle.  I find it helps to insert the cartridge needle and inject the air while the vial is NOT upside down yet.  I also try not to thump things too hard when getting the bubbles out.  If I have a tough one, I'll take the cartridge out of the vial and thump, thump, thump until it floats to the top and THEN I'll inject the bubble into the vial.  Those needles aren't very flexible, so I think it's easy to damage the stopper with a lot of jostling.

We use the Ping with Novolog and I have never seen this. However, my son doesn't go thru a whole vial in a month, so I usually use the pen cartridges - which I find much easier - and I don't have to throw any insulin away at the end of the month. You don't need to inject air and so I rarely get any bubbles when filling from those.

Hello everyone this is my very first time on this site and I already like it! I have been on an Animas pump since October 2009 and this just started happening to me as well. I thought maybe it was just the bottle of insulin but now I realize it is not. Mine leaks a decent amount as well. I am on Humalog.

I also have another problem that I was curious about. Does anyone have a problem with the clips breaking or coming apart like every 3-5 months? It stinks because the clips are $20 a piece and that gets expensive when  you have to buy pump cartridges, tubing, supplies and insulin on top of them. Having diabetes is not cheap by any means. I was just curious if it was just me or if others have run into this issue also.





I use Novolog w/ my ping and have never encountered this problem.


Hey Jenna,

Welcome, I have had my ping for almost two years.  Only one has broken, so now I keep a back up.  Before it broke, I did notice it was "loose".  I also keep an extra battery cap, and cartridge cap (that rubber piece) just in case.



I just noticed we are having this issue with Humalog even when I draw for my daughters needles. 

Hey Jason thanks for responding to my clip question. I have been on the Animas pump since October 2009 and have had 4 clips since then. I thought maybe it was just me and it might be. The screw comes lose. That is a good idea to keep a backup of all of them especially when it is 5 dollars for shipping.


I have used medtronic for over 6 years with humalog and have never had that problem.  

When I was on the Ping, while in my office building washroom putting a new site in and filling up the insulin..I actually got insulin ALL over my pants, my shirt, the counter and my hands! It was really weird, I'd never had that happen to me before. I smelt for the rest of the day!

About 2 weeks ago I found an old box (originally 100) of 26g, 0.5 inch sterile needles with plastic hubs, that I used with glass syringes for insulin injections, probably about 30 years ago. These needles are still in individual sterile packages, so I have decided to substitute one of these needles in place of the lower gauge (thicker) filling needle supplied by Animas with their 2.0 ml cartridges. With the 26g needle and the stopper in a Humalog vial, I have seen almost no leakage like I described at the beginning of this thread.

Several replies in this thread have indicated similar leakage with Humalog, and none have indicated similar leakage with Novolog or Apidra. So I think the stoppers being used by Eli Lilly in Humalog vials are part of the problem. I also think that the low gauge filling needle supplied by Animas is part of the problem. The combination of these filling needles, each used once, with at least 4 or 5 punctures of the Humalog stopper, are usually enough to damage the stopper so it leaks around the outside of the filling needle.

I'd like to know what Animas and Eli Lilly say about this.

I use Novorapid

Hey all,

I sent Eli Lilly & Company a message about this on Twitter yesterday afternoon, and here was the response I woke up to this morning. (I was actually really impressed that they even got back to me at all, nevermind how quick the response was. Kudos.)

"Very sorry to hear the problem. Recommend calling the Lilly Answers Center at 1-800-545-5979. Best wishes...."
I plan to give them a call after work today, if I can remember.... ;)  If anyone else does call, please let us know what happens!