FDA: potential risk of HIV and hepatitis transmission when insulin pens and cartridges are shared

An excerpt of FDA’s press release issued  19th March 2009:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued an alert to health care professionals reminding them that single-patient insulin pens and insulin cartridges should not be used to administer medication to multiple patients due to the potential risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and the hepatitis viruses.

Insulin pens are pen-shaped injector devices that contain a disposable needle and either an insulin reservoir or an insulin cartridge. The devices typically contain enough insulin for a patient to self-administer several doses of insulin before the reservoir or cartridge is empty. All insulin pens are approved only for single-patient use (one device for only one patient).

 

Amy Egan, M.D., deputy director of safety at the FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research declared:

“Insulin pens are not designed, and are not safe, for one pen to be used by more than one patient, even if needles are changed between patients due to the risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens.”

Further information on the CDER website: Information for Healthcare Professionals: Risk of Transmission of Blood-borne Pathogens from Shared Use of Insulin Pens

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