Injectables and Fear of Needles!
When all other oral treatment alternatives have been exhausted, there are still some treatment plans available for persons with diabetes. These treatments consist of various injectable medications, which may require some extra education for the patient, and an overcoming of their fear of needles.
Injectables consist of four kinds:
- Incretin mimetics (such as Byetta, or Victoza)
- Pramlintide (or Symlin); and
The Fear of Needles – No More!
The fear of needles is very real in many persons with diabetes. This might be due to stories from grandma having to file and boil her needles for managing her diabetes, or how needles are presented in popular television and literature – with these thick and enormously long needles that drip and ooze with liquid. A scary prospect for anyone, really.
Except that this is far from the modern reality. Nowadays, needles come with really small and fine gauges, meaning they only need to enter just enough to reach the subcutaneous tissue, and they are thin enough as to minimize pain. There are even devices made to ‘automatically inject’ a needle, eliminating the patient from having to press the plunger on their own.
Sometimes, there’s a stigma associated with a person carrying a needle and a vial of medicine – but modern needles also come in the form of ‘pens’ – injectables that outright look like pens, which a patient can set to the appropriate level of dosage, and treat wherever they need. These types of ‘pens’ need not be refrigerated, and can be carried anywhere, without many people knowing what the item is… other than thinking it’s a pen.
You may choose to ask your medical provider how to properly inject a medication, but many pharmaceutical providers also have videos available on their home pages, or on YouTube, to help their users learn how to properly administer injectible medications.
Injectible medications are beneficial ways of managing diabetes when all other avenues have failed. These medications are NOT addicting, but they might seem as if they were because of the stigma of a needle – and because as diabetes progresses, the patient may not be able to return to other forms of treatment that were previously available to them. This is not the fault of the medication itself, but of nature of diabetes and death of our insulin-producing beta cells. An injectible medication simply helps the patient make the best of the insulin production they may have available, or even replace the insulin production they once had. Insulin is a hormone which a person needs in order to live – without it, we may die.
Some patients might fear the very real prospect of gaining weight – but not all injectibles cause weight gain, and some may even lead to appetite control and weight loss. With insulin, a person might gain weight – but only because by replacing insulin, they are able to more efficiently use the energy they get from the foods they consume. The key to avoiding weight gain with insulin is to properly manage one’s diet, carbohydrate consumption, and exercise routine.
In the next blog post, we will discuss injectables in more detail.
Note: This article has been updated to include non-insulin injectables that were not on the market when the article was first published.
Have you experienced any complications from diabetes?