Saturday, May 18, 2024

Do Insulin Pens Need To Be Refrigerated

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Do I Need A Doctor’s Note To Fly With Insulin

Storing your insulin pen

It’s not a mandatory item. But it makes life easier. When storing your medication in your hand luggage you might get questions from the airport security why you are traveling with insulin vials or insulin pens and needles. Instead of explaining you can show the note from your doctor.

When I traveled to Australia I had to transit to Thailand. Airport security checked my bags and requested an explanation why I was traveling with that many vials, needles, insulin pens, and insulin pump material. I showed my doctor’s note, gave them some info about my condition, type 1 diabetes, and that I need these medications to survive. They understood and let me continue on my travels. When I embarked on the plane I talked to the cabin crew, and they put my insulin in a cooler box with ice packs.

Products To Help Store Insulin Safely

Just as new insulins have rapidly been developed, more efficient methods of keeping insulin safe have evolved as well.

Three such products have now come forward with unique and simple ways to carry insulin products with you, whether it be on short hikes, or traveling the world.

MedAngelis a handy smart thermometer for medications that need to be stored at certain temperature ranges. You keep it next to your insulin and it will alert you on your phone if the temperature is out of range. You can customize the temperature range for your specific medication, which is great.

Frio Cooling Packs can work up to 5 times longer than ice packs and seem to keep insulin products at a more consistent temperature. They can last up to 45 hours or more and are easy to store and use, coming in a variety of styles and colors. They require soaking in water before use as instructed on the website.

TheVivi Cap is a cooling device for insulin pens. It simply clicks onto an insulin pen instead of the cap and with the push of a button, the device then works to keep insulin at the proper temperature for as long as you need it to. No ice packs or preparing necessary. The battery lasts as long as the device, which can be active for several years.

Can You Still Use Insulin After The Expiration Date

Using expired insulin is absolutely not recommended and should only be done if you have no other option.

The effectiveness of insulin degrades over time and its impossible to predict how well expired insulin will work or if it will even work at all!

Insulin is a bit unusual in that it had two expiration dates one is the expiration date if insulin is unopened and stored at the proper temperature. The second expiration date is the date the manufacturer suggests insulin is good for after opening and when kept at room temperature.

Be sure to check both dates so you know if your insulin is still safe to use.

Read Also: How Many Calories Can A Diabetic Have Per Day

Protect Your Insulin From Freezing

On the contrary, suppose youre living in or traveling to a freezing cold destination. Youd need to protect your insulin from freezing or it would break down and lose its potency. When outside, keep your insulin in your inside pocket. Your body’s warmth should be enough to prevent it from freezing. Of course, never leave your insulin outside.

If you use an insulin cooler for hot weather, be sure it has an anti-freeze security. Some coolers that are not specially designed for medicines can reach very low temperatures that could freeze your insulin. 4AllFamilys medical-grade coolers all guarantee your insulin cant freeze.

Related: Can you freeze insulin and what really happens if you do?

What Happens If You Use Expired Insulin

Learn how to store your insulin the perfect way!

When insulin is not working properly, its akin to what happens upon an initial diabetes diagnosis when your pancreas is not producing adequate insulin for your bodys needs.

Blood sugars start to rise and can do so quite rapidly. When you see blood sugars go up and have ruled out other causes, such as illness, changes in diet and/or exercise, or new medications, start to suspect that your insulin has gone bad.

When you switch to a new vial or pen and your blood sugars magically go back to normal, you have verified that your insulin was in fact damaged.

Its important to note that insulin can go bad before its expiration date. This happens very rarely, but if you feel that your insulin isnt working as well as it should, try switching to a new vial or pen.

Recommended Reading: Type 2 Diabetes In Men

All Insulin Pens And Vials Starting Breaking Down After 28 Days

As soon as you open a vial or pen of insulin, it has about 28 to 30 days when stored at room temperature before it starts to gradually breakdown even if you continue to store it in the fridge between doses. This doesnt mean you necessarily have to throw out all opened insulin after 28 days but be very mindful of your blood sugars. Many insulin users have shared using insulin past the 28-day mark, but remark that day 45 is when it truly loses its potency.

As insulin breaks down, it becomes less effective at managing your blood sugar. When this becomes noticeable in your blood sugar, definitely consider swapping that vial or pen out for a new one.

Many people use a pen or vial completely before the 28-day mark, making this a non-issue.

How Do I Use An Insulin Pen

Select a clean, dry work area. The supplies you will need include:

  • The prescribed insulin pen
  • Pen needles and alcohol wipes
  • A container for used equipment. You can use a hard plastic container with a screw-on or tight lid, or a commercial sharps container.

Here are the steps you will take:

  • Begin by washing your hands.
  • Remove the cap of the insulin pen.
  • If the insulin in the pen appears cloudy, roll the pen in your hands and turn it from side to side for one full minute. You do not have to roll the pen if the insulin is completely clear. Do not shake the pen.
  • Wipe the rubber stopper with an alcohol wipe.
  • Attach a new pen needle onto the insulin pen. Pen needles come in different sizes. Talk to your healthcare provider to choose the pen needle that is best for you.
  • To attach the pen needle, pull the paper tab off the pen needle, screw the new needle onto the pen, and remove the outer cap of the needle. You will need the outer cap to remove the needle from the pen when you are done with the injection. Remove the inner cap.
  • Prime the insulin pen. Priming means removing air bubbles from the needle, and ensures that the needle is open and working. The pen must be primed before each injection.
  • To prime the insulin pen, turn the dosage knob to the 2 units indicator. With the pen pointing upward, push the knob all the way. At least one drop of insulin should appear. You may need to repeat this step until a drop appears.
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    Why Novolog Needs To Be Refrigerated

    So, now that its clear that Novolog doesnt have to be refrigerated within the first 28 days, lets focus on why Novolog needs to be refrigerated.

    This is the first main reason why it needs to be refrigerated after the recommended duration. This can be linked with a practical example. Just think of milk or other liquids that can easily spoil when kept outside, especially after opening.

    So, when refrigerating Novolog insulin, what happens is the ability for bacteria to grow in it is mitigated or slowed. This way, the strength and the potency of the insulin will remain as long as the expiration date.

    Another misconception that many have is that the Novolog might not work or make people sick when its not refrigerated.

    Even increasing the dose of Novolog may not work when its kept outside because of the bacterial growth. You should never increase your dose of insulin without consulting your doctor.

    Another important thing to mention here is that simply refrigerating the Novolog insulin doesnt mean it can be used after it has expired. All insulin, including Novolog, will have to be disposed of after the expiration date.

    Now that everything is explained, we will now focus on what temperatures different Novolog insulins have to be refrigerated at.

    All insulin, including Novolog, will have to be disposed of after the expiration date.

    The Drawbacks Of Refrigeration

    A Guide to Using Your Insulin Pen

    Why the difference? One reason may be that insulin that doesnt require refrigeration is hardier.

    Insulin products contained in vials or cartridges supplied by the manufacturers may be left unrefrigerated, at a temperature between 59°F and 86°F, for up to 28 days and continue to work, said a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .

    That means non-refrigerated insulin has more wiggle room before it falls out of the recommended range.

    That might sound counterintuitive, since the refrigerator is a more tightly controlled temperature environment.

    However, when you look at conflicting recommendations, it begins to make sense.

    For example, the FDA recommends that refrigerators be set at 40°F or below for food safety.

    In addition, refrigerator-maker Samsung states that a slight temperature fluctuation of plus or minus 5° is typical for a refrigerator.

    And thats before factoring in the temperature fluctuations that can come from opening and closing your refrigerator too often.

    Heres a scenario: Say you set your fridge at 37°F just to be on the safe side for food safety, and youre storing your insulin in there. Per the manufacturer, your refrigerators internal temperature could dip as low as 32°F, or 4° lower than what insulin manufacturers recommend.

    The researchers observed a variation of this exact circumstance, with 17 of the temperature sensors registering a temperature below the freezing point of 32°F.

    That poses a risk.

    Also Check: How To Measure Blood Glucose

    Storage Of Novo Nordisk Reusable Insulin Delivery Devices And Penfill Cartridges

    In-use Novolin PenFill cartridges should be protected from extreme temperatures and sunlight. Unrefrigerated in-use Novolin PenFill cartridges can be used 28 days for Novolin R PenFill, 14 days for Novolin N PenFill, and 10 days for Novolin 70/30 PenFill. Unrefrigerated PenFill cartridges should be discarded if not used within the time periods listed above. Storage at extreme temperatures should be avoided because the physical properties of the insulin may be altered.

    Expiration dates for refrigerated unopened product and in-use times for opened room temperature product are based on data generated by Novo Nordisk and approved by regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration, to ensure that the potency of a properly handled product is maintained while the product is in use. These times differ by brand and type of insulin, as well as by product presentation , to ensure the longest in-use time without sacrificing potency. Proper storage and handling of insulin products is essential and must be considered as part of routine daily care by both the physician and patient when using insulin.

    Read Also: When Is Insulin Needed For Type 2 Diabetes

    Quality Assurance And Risk Assessment For Pwd

    According to the plethora of reports in online forums and social media, PwD experience issues with their insulin often. A decrease in biological potency of insulin over time due to improper storage conditions would potentially result in an increase in insulin doses needed. This does not remain unnoticed by people sensitive to such changes, especially when larger adjustments of insulin doses are required or when people track insulin dosages and glucose levels. However, PwD, caregivers, diabetes educators, and physicians might not consider variations in insulin potency as a possible cause for observed increase in blood glucose fluctuations due to the many other factors influencing insulin requirements. When therapeutic goals are not achieved, insufficient biological potency of the insulin used should be considered as a possible cause as well, by PwD as well as by the diabetes team.

    Recommended Reading: Blood Sugar Higher When Fasting

    Insulin Pens For Diabetes

    Managing diabetes often requires taking insulin shots throughout the day. Insulin delivery systems such as insulin pens can make giving insulin shots much easier. If you currently use a vial and syringe to deliver your insulin, switching to an insulin pen may make it easier manage your diabetes.

    Insulin pens dont eliminate the need to poke yourself with a needle. They simply make measuring and delivering your insulin less complicated.

    Insulin pens deliver anywhere from .5 to 80 units of insulin at a time. They can deliver insulin in increments of one-half unit, one unit, or two units. The maximum dose and the incremental amount vary among pens. The amount of total insulin units in the cartridges vary as well.

    How Does Ozempic Work To Control Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

    How Long Does an Insulin Pen Last?

    Ozempic is typically prescribed as a weekly injection administered subcutaneously into the thigh, upper arm or abdomen. Ozempic works by mimicking the effect of the hormone GLP-1. GLP-1 is a hormone that is released from the gut in response to food. It helps to regulate glucose metabolism by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas and by slowing gastric emptying. Ozempic increases insulin release when the blood sugar level is high, and it slows gastric emptying to help control blood sugar after meals. Ozempic is not meant to be used for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

    Tell your doctor about all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Ozempic may affect how other medications work, and other medications may affect how Ozempic works.

    You should not use Ozempic if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Ozempic is a safe and effective medication when used as directed. Talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of Ozempic before starting treatment.

    Recommended Reading: What Is The Correct Reading For Diabetes

    Storage And Transport Of Insulin When In Use

    For PwD, the insulin in-use is a daily companion, and therefore, is exposed to numerous environmental factors. The average ambient temperature in many regions can be much higher than the recommended 30°C in summer or can drop below 2°C in winter. Package leaflets, in addition to a temperature range, recommend keeping insulin away from sunlight and do not freeze.

    There is little research on how insulin is transported when in-use and its quality at the moment of administration. Observational data from users of the insulin pen cap Insulclock showed that during a study period in Spain in summer, injections were performed at an average temperature of 27°C , with 11.7% above 30°C up to 41°C .46 There are also a few documented cases of diabetic ketoacidosis of pump users, whose insulin had stopped working because of exposure to heat or freezing.47,48

    Can Ozempic Stay Out Of The Fridge

    After first use, Ozempic can be stored out of the fridge at room temperature for up to 56 days.

    After you start using the Ozempic pen, it should be disposed of after 56 days, even if there is more Ozempic remaining in the pen. Write the date of disposal on your calendar so you do not forget.

    Ozempic can be used until the expiration date if stored properly in the refrigerator at the correct temperature.

    Do not store your Ozempic pens in the car. Always keep Ozempic away from the light and away from heat. Similar to Insulin, like Victoza, Trulicity, and many other injectable drugs, Ozempic is highly sensitive to low and high temperatures.

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    What Do I Do If I Miss A Dose

    If you have missed a dose of your Ozempic injection, inject the missed dose once you remember. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the dose that you had missed and inject the next dose at your regular time. Do not inject a dose that is double the amount of Ozempic to make up for a dose that was missed.

    Does Insulin Need To Be Refrigerated

    Pen Insulin Injection

    Yes, insulin absolutely does have to be refrigerated.

    While it doesnt seem like it, since its just a clear liquid in a container, insulin might as well be food-grade. It contains a high number of proteins, which can spoil when left outside of the optimal temperature range.

    If insulin isnt stored properly, it goes bad similarly to how food does, just at a slower rate.

    In some instances, insulin can be stored at room temperature , for a maximum of four weeks. This does come with an increased risk of spoiling, which is why no diabetics keep their insulin at room temperature for long.

    Many diabetics are very sensitive to insulin as well. Certain insulin, such as injection pens, are often stored at room temperature to avoid any destruction of the proteins and to maintain its effectiveness.

    Read Also: Type 2 Diabetes Do I Have It

    General Rules For Storing Insulin

    • To ensure that your insulin remains effective, stable and undamaged you should discard your in use insulin after 28 days, whether in a vial or cartridge
    • Insulin that is not in use should be stored in the refrigerator. If refrigeration is not possible, it can be kept at room temperature for 28 days
    • The in use vial may be kept at room temperature for 28 days
    • In use cartridges should be kept at room temperature and SHOULD NOT be kept in the refrigerator
    • Insulin has a use by date as well as an expiry date

    Can I Use My Insulin Right Out Of The Fridge

    Yes, you can use your insulin right out of the fridge. But, injecting cold insulin may be uncomfortable and cause local irritation.

    Before opening a new insulin vial or pen, you can remove it from the fridge and let it reach room temperature before injecting it. This should help avoid the discomfort from injecting cold insulin.

    After the first use of your vial or pen, follow the manufacturers instructions for how long you can store your insulin at room temperature. This depends on the type you use.

    Recommended Reading: Normal A1c Levels For Diabetics

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