More than 34 million people in the United States use insulin. 

Every patient with type 1 and type 2 diabetes will have to use insulin at some point in treatment. Insulin is one of the most widely used medications in the United States, and it is commonly injected at home. 

If you or a loved one take injection medication, it’s important to know how to fill a syringe to properly administer medication and avoid injury. 

Follow this quick step-by-step guide to learn the best way to fill a syringe. 

How to Fill a Syringe

If this is your first time, filling a syringe for injection can seem intimidating. Don’t worry; the process is simple and will become easier with practice. 

1. Review the Medication Instructions

Before attempting anything, read your medication instructions. Ensure that you have the correct medication and syringe size, and determine your dosage. 

2. Prepare Your Supplies

Lay all of your materials out on a clean, flat surface. You’ll need:

  • Your medication vial
  • Your syringe
  • Rubber gloves
  • Alcohol wipes 

Check the expiration date on your vial, and never use expired medication. Mix medications by rolling the bottle between the palm of your hands. Do not shake the vial.

Wipe the vial’s rubber top with an alcohol pad and allow it to air dry. Do not dry the rubber by waving your hand or blowing on it. 

3. Pull the Syringe Plunger

Put on your gloves to protect against contamination and accidental needle sticks. Hold the syringe in your hand like a pencil and remove the safety cap, if applicable. Pull back on the syringe plunger and draw air up to your dosage line. 

4. Insert the Needle

Hold the vial in one hand and the syringe in the other. Push the needle down into the rubber cap of the vial. Be careful not to bend or touch the needle. 

5. Push Air Out

Hold the syringe plunger between your forefingers and thumb. Depress the plunger with your thumb to push all of the air out of the needle and into the vial. This creates the right amount of pressure in the vial, making the medicine draw easier.

6. Turn the Vial Upside Down

Flip the vial and syringe upside down, so the air in the bottle rises away from the needle. Gently tap on the glass to gather all air bubbles at the top of the bottle. 

7. Draw Medicine

Make sure the tip of the needle stays covered by liquid at all times. Pull the plunger back to pull liquid into the syringe until your dosage line. 

8. Remove Air Bubbles

It is crucial to fill a syringe without air bubbles to prevent injury. With the needle and vial still upside down, examine the body of the syringe for air bubbles. Gently tap or flick the syringe to move all the bubbles to the top of the needle.

Push the plunger gently until a small amount of medication comes out of the tip of the needle. If needed, carefully draw more medication and repeat. 

9. Remove the Needle 

When you have the correct measurement with no bubbles, turn the vial and syringe right-side up again. Slowly pull the needle straight out of the bottle and avoid touching the needle. Examine the syringe for bubbles once more, and you’re ready to go! 

Injection Best Practices

Anytime you fill a syringe from a bottle, stay safe with these best practices:

  • Use a fresh, clean needle every time
  • Inject the medication as soon as possible after drawing
  • If injecting later, use a cap to cover the needle
  • Dispose of used needles in a sharps container

Set for Success

Now that you’ve learned how to fill a syringe, you’re ready to start feeling your best! Remember to keep your environment and injection site as clean as possible. In time, filling a syringe from a vial will feel like second nature!

Did you find this guide helpful? Check out our health page for more articles that will help you live a happy and healthy life!