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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Alternative to daily insulin injections?

    For someone with type 2 diabetes, are there any alternatives to having daily insulin injections? I have a fear of needles and am terrified of the idea of having a shot every day
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 9

    Thanks

    Peta Tauchmann

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Registered Nurse

    I have a special interest in Type 1 Diabetes, optimising insulin therapy and Insulin pump therapy. I focus on the private sector including private clinics and consulting roles.   My … View Profile

         Type 2 diabetes is caused by the inability of insulin to reduce the glucose in your blood stream.  The reason can be because the insulin molecule sends incorrect signals to the cells containing glucose, or because the insulin demand is greater than supply. 
          When you are first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the body is often still able to meet demand, and tablets can be used to help the signalling problem.  But after a while the pancreas stops making enough insulin, and at this point injections are needed to supplement your own supply. 
         I haven't ever met a person who was excited to start injecting themself.  Insulin injections are painless and given with modern devices that are designed to make it easier for you.  
         Go and speak to your doctor or diabetes educator.  Perhaps you don't need insulin, and tablets are likely to work for you right now?  You need to speak to someone who listens to your fear and takes the time to understand your reasons for it.  They should also be able to show you how to inject insulin, and the types of injectors available. 
    Good luck!  remember insulin is a naturally occuring hormone, and if you really do need to inject insulin you will feel much healthier once you have started. 

  • 6

    Thanks

    Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    As Peta already commented; I too have never seen a person who is keen to start insulin injections. I too would not like the idea! But there are a few points that I like to make:
    1. Injecting insulin is easier than testing blood glucose levels.  The lancets used to prick your finger are a lot thicker than the needles used to inject the insulin. If I have to give a demonstration on how to test BGLs or how to inject insulin I rather go for the insulin injection!.
    2. The natural progression of type 2 diabetes is that it will get worse over time and that eventually insulin injections are inevitable. 
    3. If you are at a point in your life where you require insulin injections and you have needlephobia, there are some devices available that may make the injections a little easier to cope with. Novo Nordisk has a device called the Penmate, which will help you insert the needle. There are also clinical trials that focus on once or twice weekly injections of insulin. If you contact Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly or Sanofi, some of the largest insulin producing companies in Australia, they can give you information as to where these trials are taking place. 

    As I started saying; noone likes the idea of injecting themselves,  it is one of the reasons why I retrained as a Somatic Psychotherapist. There are varying levels of needle phobia and there are ways of overcoming this. If you are finding yourself at a point in your life where your doctor tells you there is no other option than to start insulin injections, call me. I can help you.

  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Kevin Lee

    Endocrinologist, Nuclear Medicine Physician

    Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nuclear Medicine. I am on Twitter @dr_kevinlee. I am on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kevinleefracp/ I help patients with obesity, diabetes, thyroid, … View Profile

    Very good posts above, thank you.

    I would also like to add that injectables really are nearly painless these days with modern day fine needles. 

    If there are other concerns regarding insulin you must speak to your doctor or diabetes educator or nurse.

    There are other medications for T2D that may be effecacious in your case if you would like other options: Again, it is prudent to discuss this with your doctor.

    Bariatric surgery also ought to be considered as another option in those with obesity and diabetes. It is about the only proven form of therapy that can near-competely reverse the hyperglycemia and reduce mortality, based on large clinical trials.

    Regards,

    Dr Kevin Lee
    Consultant Physician Endocrinologist

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