RAG rating
Document type
Patient information
Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
Output type
Pharmacy / Prescribing
Information leaflet
Needles - Information for patients


Needles – Information for Patients

Changes to prescribing of needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens

NHS guidance states that needles for insulin pens should be an appropriate length for safety reasons and should represent good value. 

Needles that don’t represent good value should no longer be prescribed. 

Which needles for insulin pens are affected?

There are many different types of needles available for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens. They vary greatly in cost, with no significant difference in how well they work, so it is important not to waste limited NHS money on insulin needles that are more expensive for no extra benefit and in some cases may cause harm.
They also vary in length and the 4mm needles are considered safer as they reduce the risk of the insulin being injected into the muscle, instead of under the skin.

What options are available instead?

There are lots of alternative needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens available on the NHS that represent good value for money.
Your doctor, nurse or practice pharmacist will talk to you about the different options so that you can come to a joint decision about which needles are best for you and show you how to use a different size needle if you need to switch to shorter ones.

Where can I find more information and support?

Find out more about the medicines that are being stopped or reduced:

Version number
Developed by
Approved by
Date approved / updated
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Superseded version