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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1983 Jan 29; 286(6362): 369–370.
PMCID: PMC1546962

Disposable or non-disposable syringes and needles for diabetics? Strathclyde Diabetic Group.


In a survey undertaken in the west of Scotland 801 adult diabetics taking insulin were questioned about their use of disposable or non-disposable needles and syringes, the life of such equipment, infected injection sites, and future preferences. Six hundred and eight preferred to use disposable equipment even if it meant reusing it; of the 413 who already bought disposable needles, 211 reused them, and of the 234 who bought disposable syringes, 153 reused them. Comparison of total annual costs showed that disposable equipment used only once was more expensive than non-disposable equipment. Reuse of disposable equipment for a few days, however, considerably reduced annual costs when compared with non-disposable equipment. Fewer infected injection sites were recorded in patients reusing disposable equipment without sterilisation than in patients sterilising non-disposable equipment according to government recommendations.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Greenough A, Cockcroft PM, Bloom A. Disposable syringes for insulin injection. Br Med J. 1979 Jun 2;1(6176):1467–1468. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hodge RH, Jr, Krongaard L, Sande MA, Kaiser DL. Multiple use of disposable insulin syringe-needle units. JAMA. 1980 Jul 18;244(3):266–267. [PubMed]
  • Oli JM, Gugnani HC, Ojiegbe GC. Multiple use of ordinary disposable syringes for insulin injections. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982 Jan 23;284(6311):236–236. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Swift PG, Hearnshaw JR. Insulin injections and infections. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981 Apr 18;282(6272):1323–1323. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hedley AJ, Jones RB, Gale EA, Tattersall RB. Prevalence of insulin-treated diabetes mellitus. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982 Aug 14;285(6340):509–509. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Green A, Hauge M, Holm NV, Rasch LL. Epidemiological studies of diabetes mellitus in Denmark. II. A prevalence study based on insulin prescriptions. Diabetologia. 1981 Apr;20(4):468–470. [PubMed]

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