What Are Diabetic Lancets And How Are Lancing Devices Used?

If you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. You have to manage your diabetes with various supplies and devices, and you're not sure what it's all about. These materials will become more familiar to you over time, but now you may be somewhat confused. Though different uses and meanings apply to some terms, they sound similar – but until now, you've never heard these terms.

Let's kick this off with two definitions that you'll need to know regarding lancing devices and lancets:

  • Lancing device: To help make the process of pricking your finger less painful and a bit easier, these are used with lancets.
  • Lancets: These are used for finger sticks/finger pricks/blood samples to puncture the skin. It's a piece of plastic that is molded and contains a very thin, small needle. They can be used with lancing devices or alone. They supply just enough blood for testing.


Though all lancets might seem to be the same, they are not. The main variations are whether they’re self-contained and the needle gauge size. Though this may seem reversed, when a needle is smaller and thinner, it has a higher gauge number. You may need to read that again.

Less pain is frequently caused by smaller needles. But if you have rough or thick skin, a small needle might not do the job. To figure out which works best for you, you might have to experiment with a couple of sizes (gauges). Because you can adjust the finger prick’s depth with a lancing device, some people use them with a smaller needle successfully.

Lancing Devices

For easy and quick use of a lancing device, check out these steps:

  • To decrease the chance of infection, wash your hands first.
  • From your lancing device, remove the cap. Load a lancet (spring-loaded device) or turn the cap to load a lancet (cap-driven device).
  • Figure out the depth you want and adjust the lancing device appropriately. 
  • Press the lancing device to your finger when you're ready to prick your skin. To trigger the lancet to poke your skin, press the button.
More tips:
  • From the location of the puncture, gently squeeze blood if, from that puncture, you're not getting enough blood at first.
  • You may have to increase the lancet’s depth by adjusting the device if you still can't get blood from your finger and then try again.
  • Before using the lancing device, you may try hanging your hand downward beside you, washing your hands with warm water first, or both.
  • Avoid reusing lancets if possible because, to effectively poke your skin, they may be too dull after repeated usage.

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Lancing is an essential element in the management of diabetes for most diabetics. Lancets are small, sharp objects which are utilized for pricking or piercing the skin. The piercing allows a small drop of blood to be drawn up to the surface of the skin. You can then use blood glucose strips or a blood glucose monitor to test glucose levels in your blood. Lancets can differ significantly in size; for example, smaller sizes are generally more appropriate for children. However, such lancets may not be able to draw sufficient blood for adults.

Whilst some people use a lancet, most diabetics actually prefer to use special lancing devices that are designed especially for a firm grip on the lancet and can be easily operated with a button. However, depending on the thickness of the skin, different settings are required.

Lancets are designed for one-time use before disposal. The reason is that the lancet will become less sharp and more painful to use after the first use. As the used lancets can carry infection, you need to know the numerous safe disposal methods for used lancets. GPs can prescribe sharps bins for diabetics to dispose of their used lancets, and some companies even sell sharps boxes.

On the market, there are different varieties of lancing devices and lancets. You can purchase lancets, and other diabetes supplies at your local pharmacy or from here. It is important to shop for quality products at great prices and you can get all of these at ExpressMed.

If you have any unopened, unused diabetic supplies like lancets, you can choose to donate them to several organizations that are willing to accept them, such as CR3 Diabetes Association, Inc, Insulin for Life, The Embrace Foundation, Integrated Diabetes Services and SafeNexRx. Otherwise, there are other ways like contacting your Endo office to see if they can collect the donated supplies or you can try contacting your local ADA or JDRF associations. You can also create a network of individuals that could need these supplies by meeting at local events such as Diabetes Camp, Facebook groups or walks.

If you have unopened, unused diabetic lancets or syringes that have expired, you do not necessarily have to throw them out. Instead, you can choose to donate them to your local shelters or animal shelters. Unused, expired pen needles, sensors, syringes or lancets need to be placed in a sharps container or a hard plastic container for discarding. Then, you have to take these containers to your local disposal site for safe disposal. For any expired test strips, you can simply throw them into the trash. For unused medications and unused expired control solutions, you can mix them with coffee grounds or cat litter inside a plastic Ziplock bag before disposing of them in the bin. Never flush your medications down the toilet. Always remove your prescription number and name from the empty medication bottle by writing over with a permanent marker or by scratching it off.

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