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Diabetes Health Center

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Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot for Diabetes

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How to Measure a Mixed Dose of Insulin

Your doctor may prescribe two types of insulin to be injected at once for diabetes. This mixed dose may provide better blood sugar control for some people.

Please follow these steps when injecting a mixed dose of insulin:

  • Follow the preparation steps described above for both bottles of insulin.
  • Draw the required number of units of air into the syringe by pulling the plunger back. Draw air into the syringe equal to the amount of cloudy (intermediate or long-acting) insulin needed. Always measure from the top of the plunger (the edge closest to the needle).
  • Insert the needle into the rubber stopper of the cloudy insulin bottle. Push the plunger down to inject air into the bottle (this allows the insulin to be drawn more easily). Do not withdraw the insulin into the syringe at this time. Take the needle out of the bottle.
  • Draw the required number of units of air into the syringe by pulling the plunger back. Draw air into the syringe equal to the amount of clear (short-acting) insulin needed. Always measure from the top of the plunger.
  • Insert the needle into the rubber stopper of the clear insulin bottle. Push the plunger down to inject air into the bottle (this allows the insulin to be drawn more easily).
  • Turn the bottle and syringe upside-down. Be sure the insulin covers the needle.
  • Pull back on the plunger to the required number of units of clear insulin needed (measure from the top of the plunger, the edge closest to the needle).
  • Check the syringe for air bubbles. Air bubbles in the syringe will not harm you if they are injected, but they can reduce the amount of insulin in the syringe. To remove air bubbles, tap the syringe so the air bubbles rise to the top and push up on the plunger to remove the air bubbles. Recheck the dose and add more insulin to the syringe if necessary.
  • Remove the needle from the clear insulin bottle and insert it into the rubber stopper of the cloudy insulin bottle.
  • Turn the bottle and syringe upside-down. Be sure the insulin covers the needle.
  • Pull back on the plunger to the required number of total units of insulin needed (measure from the top of the plunger).

Important: This must be an exact measurement. If you withdraw too much cloudy insulin, the total dosage in the syringe must be discarded. Be careful not to push any of the clear insulin from the syringe into the cloudy insulin. If there are large air bubbles after mixing the insulin in the syringe, discard this dosage and start the procedure again. Do not push the insulin back into the bottle.

  • Carefully replace the cap on the needle.
  • You are now ready to inject the insulin. Follow the steps listed below.

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