Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Insulin bolus given by sprinkler needle: effect on absorption and glycaemic response to a meal.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 30 May 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:1373
  1. B Edsberg,
  2. D Herly,
  3. P Hildebrandt,
  4. C Kühl


    Two studies were conducted investigating the effect of injecting short acting insulin subcutaneously by means of a sprinkler needle; this needle has 14 small holes in the wall but is sealed at the tip. In the first study absorption of 8 U iodine-125 labelled Actrapid HM injected subcutaneously at two separate sites in the abdominal wall was measured in 10 patients. One injection was given with the sprinkler needle and the other with a conventional needle. The initial dose absorbed during the first 30 minutes was significantly higher with the sprinkler needle. In the second study 10 U Actrapid HM was given to 11 other patients (all negative for C peptide and with low insulin binding antibody titres) on two separate days immediately before a standardised breakfast either by the sprinkler needle or by a conventional needle (random order). Plasma free insulin increased more rapidly and to higher concentrations with the sprinkler needle and the glycaemic response was considerably diminished. The sprinkler needle improves both the insulin absorption rate and the glycaemic response to a meal and may reduce the 30 minutes or so before meals that diabetics must inject to minimise postprandial hyperglycaemia.