We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Pen Needles?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pen needles are disposable components for injection pens used to dispense medication. These medical supplies are commonly used by patients who need regular injections, like people with diabetes who take insulin. The pen can be used over and over again, while the needle can be changed for each use for smooth performance. Several brands of pens and accessory needles are produced and it is important to select the right one for a patient’s needs. Patients can receive advice and instructions on which pen to buy from their care providers.

These devices include a small needle on a mounting cap which can be twisted or clipped into the pen. A shield covers the needle until it is ready for use to keep it sterile and prevent needlestick injuries. Patients can insert a cartridge of medication into the pen, rather than having to draw an injection out of a vial. When they want to take their medication, they uncap the pen and perform the injection. Some pens have a retractable design to withdraw the needle after use, which prevents injuries.

Like other needles, pen needles are classified by gauge and length. Some medications require a wider gauge because they are thick or chunky, and cannot move smoothly through a small needle. The smaller the needle, the more comfortable the injection, so patients have to balance these two needs when they select a product. Length is also an important consideration. Injection sites may require a longer needle for full penetration if they are deeper beneath the skin.

Patients are usually advised to use pen needles only once, for several reasons. The first is comfort. With each use, a needle dulls, and over time can become more uncomfortable to use. Additionally, multiple uses can increase the risk of infection, which is not desirable. Disposing of needles immediately after use can also protect other people by limiting the chances of a needlestick injury and removing potentially infectious materials to keep an environment clean and safe.

Packages of pen needles may contain loose needles or could come with a dispenser. In all cases, the caps keep the needles covered until they are ready to use. Dispensers may have a built in disposal chamber. This allows patients to remove old needles and discard them in a safe container. When the pen needles are used up, the disposal chamber will be full, and it can be picked up by a medical waste company or dropped off for disposal.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.