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A Prospective Study for Introducing Insulin Pens and Safety Needles in a Hospital Setting. The SANITHY Study

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 4 ]


Antonio C. Bossi, Giovanni Veronesi, Carmine S. Poerio, Alessandra Braus, Sara Madaschi, Maurizio Destro, Bruno Ferraro, Lavinia Gilberti, Paolo Sganzerla and Estella M. Davis   Pages 460 - 467 ( 8 )


Background: to assess costs and safety of insulin pen devices and safety needles as compared to vial/syringes in hospitalized patients requiring insulin therapy in a General Hospital in Northern Italy.

Materials and Methods: in a prospective 9-month study, consecutive patients admitted to three Hospital Units received insulin therapy through either a traditional disposable syringe method, or pen/safety needles with dual-ended protection, or disposable safety syringes. We compared the median direct (insulin and devices) and indirect (insulin supply at discharge, insulin wastage) costs of a 10-day in-hospital insulin treatment in the 3 study groups, additionally accounting for the costs related to the observed needlestick injury rate. Patients’ safety during in-hospital stay (hypo- and hyperglycemia episodes) and satisfaction were also assessed.

Results: N=360 patients (55% men, mean age 75.6 years, 57% with DM since ≥10 years) were recruited in the study. Insulin pens had higher median direct cost than both traditional syringes (43 vs. 18 ε/patient, p<.0001) and safety syringes (21.5 ε/patient, p<.0001). However, when also indirect and injuries costs were taken into account, the estimated savings for using pens over traditional syringes were as high as 32 ε/patient (45.8 vs. 77.6 ε/patient, p-value <.0001). No differences in patients’ safety were observed. 74% and 12% of patients using pens and syringes would like to continue the method at home, respectively (p<0.0001).

Discussion: A selective use of individual pre-filled pens/safety needles for patients who are likely to continue insulin therapy at home may strongly reduce hospital diabetes treatment related costs.


Inpatients insulin therapy, insulin pens, safety needles, customer satisfaction, safety devices, insulin therapy costs.


Metabolic Diseases and Diabetes Unit, Treviglio General Hospital, P.le Ospedale, 1 – 24047 Treviglio – BG – Italy.

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