January 31, 2012
Store Insulin Properly
For those of us using insulin, how we store insulin is important. Insulin should be stored in your refrigerator. Preferably you will have a shelf on which you store it and not on the compartment in the refrigerator door. If needed use a container to coral the boxes and contain them in one location. Many sources will not say where to store them in the refrigerator, but storing them in a door compartment will submit them to being jostled and shaken and for some types of insulin, this is not proper.
Once you are ready to use a vial of insulin, remove it from the refrigerator ahead of time and let it warm to room temperature. Once you open the vile, that is, remove the plastic cap, you have 28 days to use it. Generally it will not last longer than that. Therefore, even if you return it to the refrigerator, the 28 days still applies. Therefore rather than spending time to rewarm the insulin before injection to prevent the sting of cold insulin which can be very painful, keep the open insulin at room temperature for the 28 days.
If you do not use the insulin in the 28 days, talk to the pharmacist and follow their directions. Most of us use a vial of insulin in less than 28 days; therefore, storage is not a problem. Be sure to prevent storing the insulin in temperature extremes. Never freeze insulin.
My instruction sheet for Novolog states to keep in the refrigerator or at room temperature below 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for up to 28 days. It goes on to say keep the vials away from direct heat or light, in other words store it in the box it came in. Dispose of an opened vial after 28 days even if there is remaining insulin. Do not draw up another dose for use later. Unopened vials can be used until the expiration date on the label if it has been stored in the refrigerator. The same instructions apply to cartridges or insulin pens.
Take time to read the information that comes in the box with the insulin. If you are like me, I need a magnifying glass for the small print. This will prevent you from having future problems. Check the expiration on the box of the vial and discard any that are out of date. Always check the vial before use to make sure that it looks okay and never use any insulin that has crystals or clumps in the vial.
For a short press release of the ADA recommendations read this. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your insulin.