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Q: Infection due to reuse of a person's own needle ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Infection due to reuse of a person's own needle
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: kgamson-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2005 18:11 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2005 18:11 PDT
Question ID: 543288
I?m looking for at least one documented case of infection caused by a
person reusing his or her *own* syringe or needle.  Perhaps blood and
tissues that remain in the syringes or needles can be food for
bacteria.  Ideally, I?d like to find a case in a diabetic person, but
if that cannot be found, an infection caused by needle reuse in a
non-diabetic person would be second-best.  Also, was the infected
person ?healthy? or did he/she have a compromised immune system (ie,
due to HIV or chemotherapy).  I do not want info on reuse of
syringes/needles *among* patients such as often occurs in illegal drug

Request for Question Clarification by hagan-ga on 15 Jul 2005 13:19 PDT
From my research, it appears that infection is not a large concern for
diabetics re-using needles in the way you describe.  Instead, dulling
of the needle seems to be the issue.

However, I found one mention of a study showing an increase in risk of
infection from needle re-use:
Paily, R: Perinephric abscess from insulin syringe reuse. Am J Med Sci
327:47-48, 2004
cited in
Has RoboCop got diabetes? Response to Berger et al
Diabetes Care,  July, 2004  by Barry H. Ginsberg,  Kenneth Strauss

Is that a satisfactory answer?

Request for Question Clarification by hagan-ga on 15 Jul 2005 13:24 PDT
Managed to find an abstract of the article I mention above:

Perinephric Abscess from Insulin Syringe Reuse. 
American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 327(1):47-48, January 2004.
Paily, Rejith 
Perinephric abscess is a rare and often missed diagnosis. Diabetes
mellitus and injection drug use are often considered among the
predisposing factors for perinephric abscess. Diabetic patients are
taught to discard insulin syringes after a single use. Described here
is a patient who developed perinephric abscess from contaminated
insulin syringes. Physicians are often unaware of the high prevalence
of disposable insulin syringe reuse in the community.";jsessionid=CYaRP7xODE8E1cmkH8oaruLu0ZplseYPgX64Wqh7J6Z6fOi8kR1k!-1535698990!-949856032!9001!-1

The full article is behind a subscription wall.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Infection due to reuse of a person's own needle
From: tutuzdad-ga on 13 Jul 2005 18:31 PDT
It would certainly seem inappropriate (if not dangerous) to stick a
used (i.e. contaminated), if not back into your skin, back into your
sterile container from which you draw your insulin supply. This alone
would cause me to refrain from reusing a needle, if for no other

Subject: Re: Infection due to reuse of a person's own needle
From: amok69-ga on 14 Jul 2005 03:00 PDT
hi kgamson,

while I do agree with tutuzdad that sticking a used needle into a
sterile insulin container is a very bad idea and to be honest, if I
were using the older method of separate insulin vial, syringe and
needle, I would probably never use the same needle, but in the newer
?pens? that are used today there would be a little amount of
contamination drawn back in to the insulin at the end of each
injection and changing needles would not alter that.

Other than that the only reference I can provide is personal and
contrary to what you are looking for.

Both my brother in law and i are type 1 diabetics with a combined
duration of almost 40 years.

For the last 5 years or so we have been using either disposable "pens"
or "disposable vials" pens, where you insert the needle into the vial
once and can use it to inject until that vial is emptied, or screw a
new needle on for every injection.

We both use short 10 or 15 mm needles and inject almost always (over
99%) in the stomach.

Even though, due to the local health care policy, we both have access
to as many free needles as we want but basically screw a new needle on
a new vial and throw them away together about a week later having been
used 10 to 14 times.

Neither of us has ever had an infection due to this, although the
needles do dull at the end of the week...

In pseudo clinical terms this would equal an experiment where 500 type
1 diabetics would each be asked to use his or hers same *personal*
needle twice or three times a day for a week with no infections

I have also been told both by my treating specialist and nurse,
officially, I was supposed to change needles foe each injection but
that, unofficially, almost none of their patients do that and that
they have had no known problems.

While there will probably be at least one documented case of an
infection occurring this way, I highly doubt a properly conducted
clinical experiment would find this a problem.

Best regards,


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