Dear Certified Diabetes Educator,
My name is Jackie and I just started taking insulin. I am getting my medications through the mail and forgot to ask how to store the insulin I have started and the extra insulin I have. Please help!
I need to complement you on seeking advice. The first thing you should do when receiving your insulin is to check the expiration date. Do not use insulin if past this date. If your insulin cannot be used before this date, call your mail order supply company and tell them what happened. Always have extra insulin available so you do not run out.
The types of insulin differ with regard to how long they can be used once opened. The National Diabetes Education Program has a wonderful booklet that one can access on line which includes recommended storage times of many insulin products on page five: http://ndep.nih.gov/media/Drug_tables_supplement.pdf.
Call your insulin company to ask any questions or to see if there are any updates. You can also refer to the packaging material.
Here are links that for companies that sell insulin in the United States:
Novo Nordisk 1-800-727-6500 http://www.novonordisk.com/
Eli Lilly and Company 1-800-545-5979 for humalog insulin go to http://www.humalog.com/Pages/insulin-storage-disposal.aspx. For Humulin Insulin please call Eli Lilly and ask about the specific humulin insulin you are taking.
Sanofi 1-800-633-1610 (option 1) http://www.lantus.com/starting/how-to-use/store-lantus.aspx
For Apidra look at http://products.sanofi.us/apidra/apidra.pdf . Go to section 16.2 for storage.
Tips on insulin:
Once opened, you can store it out of the refrigerator. Insulin products have different times that they can be used for varying from 7 to 42 days (opened). Unopened insulin should be stored under refrigeration 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) and may be stored up to the expiration date. Do not allow your insulin to freeze or get really warm. Most insulin products need to be kept between 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit out of the refrigerator.
Do not store your insulin in direct sunlight, the glove compartment, trunk of the car or other areas where your insulin may freeze or get hot.
If your insulin does not look normal, it may have gone bad. Dispose of it and start a new bottle.
If traveling, store your insulin in and insulated container.
Call your diabetes educator and ask for a lesson on insulin storage.
Jackie, keep asking questions about facts you do not know. You had a very good question and one of the drug companies may change their website because of you!
Clara Schneider MS,RD,RN,CDE,LDN