The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending healthcare providers train and educate patients and caregivers on the proper use of pen needles used to inject medications from pen injectors. The announcement comes after the Agency received several reports of patients incorrectly using standard pen needles to inject insulin. In one case, the patient was hospitalized and died due to hyperglycemia.

Standard pen needles have an outer cover and removable inner needle cover, while safety pen needles have an outer cover and a fixed inner needle shield that is not removed before an injection. In these reports, patients were using standard needles without removing the inner cover, preventing the needle from entering the skin, and in turn, the patient from getting his or her medication.

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To prevent further confusion, the FDA is recommending that healthcare providers and healthcare educators train patients and caregivers on the different types of pen needles and how to properly use them. Moreover, prescribers should consider whether there could be a problem with an injection or medication administration technique before changing a medication dose.

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