Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

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

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 29 January 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:369


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.