Do you prime your insulin pens regularly?

I know lots of you use pumps, so this may not be applicable. I thought I’d pose the question anyway (hopefully I did it right).

Do you prime your pens every time you do an injection?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

I’ve been priming pretty religiously over the last few month with my long-acting insulin. I only change the needle on the 2nd-3rd injection (Sorry! That’s just what I do!), and since I started priming, I’ve realized that it’s incredibly important that I do so!!!

If I prime with just 1 unit, I often get a little, tiny drop. The next 1 unit prime gives me a short stream of insulin- clearly much more than I got with the first 1 unit prime. A 1 unit difference in long-acting insulin is HUGE for me. Also, that first 1 unit prime is not always just a small drop! Sometimes it’s a stream. So it’s not as if I can just say I was consistently taking about 1 unit lower than I thought. I’ve clearly had some variance in the amount of insulin I was taking that I wasn’t accounting for.

I’m curious if other people prime regularly or not. For those that do prime regularly, did you start because you noticed similar inconsistencies?


I rarely inject, but always prime when I inject, just as when I was on MDI. Simply because I was told to do so. It makes sense to me that it is good to get rid of air bubbles in the vial and the air in the needle. Also I would like the dose to be delivered as accurately as possible. I always change the needle, but would prime regardless to make sure there’s no air in the needle.

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Although I pump, I inject at most meals, and often twice at dinner. I prime – always have, always will. And always several units. A tiny bubble at the end of the needle doesn’t tell me what’s behind it – air, another tiny bubble, or a steady flow of insulin. I like to see it squirt toward the ceiling. (Of course I’m not paying American prices.)

I change the needle once or twice per cartridge, but if I’m not injecting right after I change the needle, I don’t see any reason to prime then.

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This seems to be the time when I most need to prime. Perhaps some insulin has leaked out since I first attached the needle?

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The first time I ever heard of priming was on TUD. I used syringes as a kid, and we never primed those. When I started using pens, I wasn’t advised to do this.

Is this a standard guideline in the Netherlands? To prime before every injection?

I’m not sure about disposable pens, but I use the NovoPen Echo and keep it in my pant pocket all day where it rattles around. I notice a lot of the time when I take the pen out of my pocket, the plastic mechanism is not pressed firmly against the rubber in the penfill cartridge and that priming before every injection is necessary just for this reason.

I think you did – or at least I did – only you may not have thought of it as priming. While the needle was still in the upside-down vial, you would have given the syringe a flick with your finger and eased up the plunger to push out any air bubbles and ensure the needle had only insulin in it. That’s basically priming, no?


I keep pen needles on for a day or two, which covers anywhere from one to six injections. I prime pointing downward every time. Sometimes it takes three or four units before any insulin comes out…even if it is not a fresh pen needle placement.


Yeah, we did that because we’d get bubbles In the syringe otherwise.

I have not historically primed my pens every time. I just “primed” them when I replaced a needle. I didn’t call it that though, and I’m not even sure I did that every time.

Yes, I think so. I was taught to prime when I was diagnosed and I think that’s the standard here. The diabetes association recommends it and I found some guidelines recommending to prime, but I don’t know whether these are binding for health professionals.


I was always advised to time with the needle pointed up to release the air, which should a?so float to the top…

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Prime, also

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Well, I just learned from this post that priming for injections is a thing :sweat_smile: I’m definitely going to from now on


The reason I point down to prime is because it keeps the insulin from collecting on the pen needle cap area…bc I have learned the hard way that if I prime up, but inject with it pointed down (like into the top of my thigh) the prime leftovers will be left on my skin and I can’t tell if the injection leaked or not.

But I always prime down and inject down without flipping the insulin pen end over end in between, so air bubbles wouldn’t cause me an issue in my case. For others maybe it would.

EH also primed every time he injected.

I think @Beacher meant, if he swapped out the needle, they didn’t prime then because they weren’t injecting then?

In my mind it’s a prime-immediately-before-injecting type of thing.

What a good topic, btw!


I prime up but then do the old nurse’s flick with my finger, to get rid of any insulin on the needle. (A holdover from syringe days.) But maybe we’re talking two different things?

Yup. Priming gets everything ready for an injection, so why do it ages beforehand if you only have to do it all over again before injecting? Sorta like recipes that tell you to preheat the oven to 400, then make your dough and refrigerate it overnight.

Who knew there was so much to say about priming! Like editors debating a comma.


Does air in the pen matter if it’s not going to interrupt the insulin flow for a downward injection after a downward prime?

Yes, I have to prime. My pen is a Pendiq 2.0 and it is programmed to require prime, wich is great I think. I always get the exact dose, I use a new needle everytime to :slight_smile: .


We are jealous, when the Pendiq first came out, we asked if they would ship to the US, but no dice. How do you like it?


It shouldn’t

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