Comparing the Needles
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All Needles are not born Equal!


Brief review of needles for Insulin syringes & pens

Today we have a large number of Insulin syringes and Insulin Pens to choose from. However one thing that is basic and important in all of them is the needle. It decides the comfort or discomfort that can be caused by the injection and ultimately the overall experience and satisfaction of the patient.

Let’s compare the commonly available insulin syringes. We are going to focus on the needles. Carefully look at the tip as zoomed in the inset.


insulin syringe needles compared

● Note: Image is zoomed to show the needles clearly.
● In reality these needles are so thin that you should be barely able to see them with naked eyes. 


  • BD Ultrafine II is the thinnest; also the needle is hollower (One disadvantage is it can easily bend). The tip is beveled at several angles. Also the company says it is coated to facilitate easy peneteration.
  • Dispovan™ has a slightly thicker shaft; the tip is thicker, compared to BD needle above. This may lead to more pressure (pain) while pricking.
  • Nirlife™ has the longest needle (longer needles are more prone to bending). Also notice that the tip is solidly beveled; we feel it is more like a lancet rather than a needle. Furthermore the barrel is so thick that there is a small chink at the tip. The opening sometimes also has jagged edges. In sync with our findings most of our patients found this needle not very comfortable.


Which insulin syringe is best for you?

If you are experiencing pain with the current syringe, then BD Ultrafine II may be beneficial as it is thinner with a sharper bevel. However it may not be widely available in small towns or cities.

If you are frequently having bent needles with BD Ultrafine II needles, then you can try Dispovan which is cheaper too. Always insist on sealed packs.

Avoid unpacked lose needles / sharing of needles to prevent blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis-B & HIV.

Do not touch or wipe the needles, this can wipe the coating off and also lead to infections at injection site.

Insulin Syringe or Pen?

Besides the various other factors like ease of use and carrying insulin pen needles are shorter and thinner than syringe needles. They claim to produce a virtually painless injection.

All the Insulin syringes come with attached needles. However when it comes to insulin pens, we can attach any of the pen needles available universally to any pen. It’s a boon for the patient to choose from.       

However one may not be able to reap this benefit without proper knowledge. So today we will look into the commonly available pen needles in India and compare them.

Comparing the Insulin Pen Needles


Let’s visually compare the Insulin Pen needle with that of the syringe. In the pic we see BD Ultrafine II syringe needle side by side BD Ultrafine II Pen needle. Pen needle is obviously thinner and shorter.

However use of Insulin pen is costlier than using a syringe and Insulin vial (Bottle).


Which pen needle is best?

We wish there was straightforward answer but there seems not. In general we have finer needles on the pens compared to syringes. BD has a finer needle available (32G) compared to Novofine. These are virtually painless but needs more care while handling to prevent damage to the tip.

There are needles with short lengths available too, but if you have a thick skin then it may not be long enough and lead to skin bruising. Work with your doctor to find out what suits you best.

Stay Safe! Never share your insulin, syringes or insulin pens.

So we have seen the various insulin syringes and pen needles. Needless to say all of them are not born equal and they don’t serve you equally either! Choose your friends (pens/syringes) wisely! Have a great day.