In 2014–2015, the largest international survey of insulin injection technique in patients with diabetes taking insulin was conducted in 42 countries, totaling 13,289 participants. In Brazil, patients from five public health centers were included. This study aims to evaluate insulin injection technique in Brazilian patients and compare results with Latin America (LatAm) and World data.
The insulin Injection Technique Questionnaire (ITQ) survey consisted of an initial patient section (questions applied by an experienced nurse), followed by observation of injection technique and examination of the injection sites by the health care professional.
In Brazil, 255 patients were evaluated: 25% had type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and 75% had T2DM. In this study, 79% of patients injected less than 4 times a day, and 17.3% used insulin pens, compared to 28% in LatAm and 86% worldwide. Syringes were used by 78% of patients in Brazil, compared to 65% in LatAm and 10% globally. Differences in needle length were substantial—nearly 64% in Brazil inject with 8 mm length needle compared to 48% in LatAm and 27% worldwide. Additionally, 48% of patients in Brazil skip doses, 80% reuse pen needles and 57% reuse syringes with 27% having lipohypertrophy by exam.
Brazilian patients use syringes more and pens less, inject with larger needles and have more lipohypertrophy when compared to Latin America and World data. Their re-use of needles and syringes is also high. This study showed that in Brazil, teaching of proper injection technique has to be more widespread, and more intensive during diabetes educational sessions, and the type of delivered supplies must be updated to smaller, shorter needles preferred by patients, in order to facilitate adherence to treatment. From the ITQ, we conclude that there are many aspects of insulin injection technique that may be improved in Brazil.