Used syringes

Has anyone had occasion to use syringes more than once? I asked my endocrinologist and he said, why not, but then I suggested that I might contaminate my insulin and he agreed.
Probably better be safe than sorry. The reason I ask now is that it will take a few days before my prescription will be renewed— so I will buy some from the pharmacy out-of-pocket today. But it was tempting to grab a few of my used syringes.

I would not reuse unless I absolutely had no other option, due to insulin contamination risk. A lot of pharmacies will sell you just one pack of syringes out of a box, so you don’t have to buy an entire box if you need only a few.

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to add to @mikefarley, today’s super sharp pen needles and syringes, due to the lightweight gauge, get totally mangled when you use them and so the next use is not so sharp or painless. you can get a nasty bruise. I cannot say I never did it, but there you go.

I have reused syringes and lancets many times. Simply wipe the needle/tip with an alcohol wipe to sterilize. Let the alcohol dry before using (it doesn’t take long!). I had an endo recommend this years ago and it worked fine. The main thing is to make sure the tips are sterile.
I wouldn’t use an old syringe in a new vial of insulin, just because the old insulin will spoil faster and you don’t want to mix it into your new vial.

Pam K.
T1D 54+ years and counting!

I’ve reused syringes once or twice when I’ve had no other option, and it definitely hurts more. The needle is so fine that it gets dulled after one use. It’s fine to reuse if you absolutely have to, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Thanks for reminding me to apply good common sense — to use alcohol as a disinfectant, and avoid using an old syringe in a new vial. As for a lancet, I use and re-use mine ; its more efficient ( 10 tests a day!)… and has never caused any problems.
It’s heartening to see your signature (54+ years)! Stay strong!

Any time insurance messed up… My daughters doc always said that if we needed anything in between… to let them know and they’d give us any samples/extras of what they had. Good luck!

Nice guy, your doc! My pharmacist will advance meds. But the syringes can be bought without prescription, so I was able to buy a packet,before my prescription was sent in. It is so heartening to find good people everywhere!
Happy holiday season to all!

Hi @mkurkov -

I reused syringes for a day or so before I’d switch up when I injected. If you are using an alcohol swab to clean the bottle before you draw up and before you inject yourself, the risk of infection is pretty dang low. I wouldn’t pull them out of the garbage, but discarding them immediately is kinda unnecessary.


Good to know! Thank you,Nancy! Trying to remember how my mother ( yes, T1D!) disinfected her non-disposable syringes and needles. It was a long time ago – I think she boiled them and then stored them in alcohol. We’ve come a long way since the 70’s. None of the drop-of-blood testing —one tested urine samples. A lot of good that would do in controlling diabetes.Much to be thankful for these days…
Stay strong, Nancy!

I reuse syringes, pen needles and lancets until they get dull or bent - no sterilization - no known problems. What would the contamination be - reduced strength??
Similarly - when I was issued vials of Apidra instead of pens, I use same vial until it is empty which is anywhere from 40 to 50 days without any degraded effect. I do keep the open vial chilled.

When I first started Novolog ( 11+ years ago) I kept using it till the vial was empty, not knowing that I should start a new vial at the end of the 30 days. There were no problems. Now I am more compliant but still use both Novolog and Levemir longer than prescribed.Would really like to know the truth about correct use and anecdotal real-life use. I hate to throw out half a vial of good insulin each month.
I know there is information about medications true shelf life. Isn;t there something like that for insulin?

I have reused my pen needles and in the past syringes.

Have heard from quite a few who have successfully re-used syringes (nowadays the needles and syringes are a unit). Some suggest a bit of sterilization, which never hurt, right? So we have options — good to know!

I’ve used the same syringe for a week or more, always used the alcohol swab folded length wise on the needle squeezed and sucked some alcohol into the syringe, shoot it back into the swab pull the syringe apart let dry and resemble, I just made 60 years type 1 and doing it has not killed me yet

BRAVO!!! More people keep telling me the same thing you say! I bet this will get others to reuse their syringes/ needles. I will, for sure. Carefully, of course.
We are trying to re-use things like plastic bags, repurpose things , stop being wasteful as many have become in the era of plenty. No more.
Thanks for the inspiration!

I use the same syringe multiple times on a daily basis with no issue, as someone else mentioned, with both lancets and syringes, I wipe clean with an alcohol swab, then re-use, for the day. I understand some don’t agree, but I have been doing this for years, and have never had an issue.

Good to be validated! Thank you!

I have unused syringes that I would be happy to send to you! You can keep them as back up or whatever. My daughter is on the pump, so I will keep one box, but I have a lot of extra boxes that I have been trying to figure out what to do with…

Stay online — I’m sure you will find people who need those syringes. Good of you to offer!