AskNadia: Dose A Syringe Length Make Injecting Insulin More Effective?

Hi Nadia: 

How long does my injection syringe need to be, so it is effective? 




Hi Lilly:


You’ll notice that diabetes doctors most commonly prescribe a disposable syringe with a 6mm needle length. Compared to the humongous syringes everybody had to use before, the 6mm needle was a breakthrough. 

While the 6mm syringe immensely shortened the length of a needle, it was just as effective as the older needles in delivering medication. Additionally, the short, thin-walled needles are far less painful to use than older needle lengths and widths. 


When you are reading the needle gauge, the higher the number, the smaller the needle size. So, if you are looking at the Diabetes Health Syringe chart, a 31 gauge needle will be smaller than a 28 gauge needle.


Diabetes medications are not injected directly into the bloodstream. Instead, they are injected under the skin. As a result, syringe needles don’t require great length to be effective. 


One of my editors, a type 2, says he most often doesn’t feel his 6mm syringe needles piercing the skin, so he makes sure to push the body of the syringe itself closer to his injection site to make sure the needle is thoroughly in. In your case, follow your healthcare professionals advice on how to inject correctly.


Suppose you are asking about the physical length of a syringe, from needle to plunger. In that case, your question relates to the syringe’s capacity. 


How much insulin a syringe holds is measured in milliliters. For example, a Trividia 6mm syringe can deliver a ½ milliliter of medicine (doses up to 50 units). A longer syringe will deliver a greater quantity of medication and still provide a mostly pain-free injection with a 6mm needle. 


When you injection in a new site, you will usually feel the tiniest pressure against your skin before the needle slides painlessly under your skin. 


Fortunately, diabetes researchers and manufacturers have designed syringes to be more comfortable and effective when injecting insulin. 



 Diabetes Health Charts

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Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google) was named “Best Diabetes Blog by Healthline. With 24 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. As a result, she was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” With her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, she co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Under her reign- Diabetes Health magazine was named one of the top 10 magazines to follow in the world for 2018 by Feedspot Blog Reader.

Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. In addition, her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized, and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.

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