The FDA has issued an alert to healthcare 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 (eg, HIV and hepatitis viruses).

This alert is in response to incidents at two undisclosed hospitals involving more than 2,000 people in which the cartridge component of the insulin pens were used to administer insulin to multiple patients. Although the disposable needles in the insulin pens were reportedly changed for each patient, there is still a risk of blood contamination of the pen reservoir or cartridge.

The FDA is working with the CDC and professional organizations to address infection control issues related to insulin pens.

For more information visit www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm127783.htm.