Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

jjames

Old insulin better than no insulin?

31 posts in this topic

I ran out of insulin a few weeks back while I was out of town, and couldn't get a refill on my insulin (without paying full price) because I had already refilled the week before. Anyway, I've decided to give a friend an extra bottle of insulin where I travel to on a regular basis in case I forget / run out of insulin unexpectedly, but started to think: if it's several months down the road - would the insulin still be any good? (We're dealing with an opened refrigerated bottle of Humalog.)

 

Ideas? Opinions? Fact sheets?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We get our insulin thru the mail, three month supply at a time, so it must be safe in the fridge for at least three months. But it would be better if it was unopened, I would think

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
but started to think: if it's several months down the road - would the insulin still be any good? (We're dealing with an opened refrigerated bottle of Humalog.)

 

Ideas? Opinions? Fact sheets?

 

As long it's been in the fridge it should be ok I would think. ;) For me I have disposable syringes to get the last drop as I hate waste. :eek:

 

Which reminds me to go to the pharmacy and get some novorapid. :confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure if the vial has not been opened it will be good for a very long time. I would also think that a partially used vial if refrigerated would have an extended life. One thing you could consider if you can get it is a box of the Humalog pen cartridges. Each vial in a box with 5 I believe is 3 ml in volume rather than 10 ml (Ithink) with a regular vial. That way you are risking a smaller volume of insulin if it happens to go bad.

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it has been opened generally it lasts only about 30 days. After that the effectiveness goes way dow for me anyways. I wouldn't count on it IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was on shots my humalog was room temp.....and my bottle lasted me sometimes 2 and half months and trust me I got some lows still on it.....so I know it can keep for a while......I never noticed when I would get a fresh bottle versus the old bottle in blood sugars at all, I was stingy with my humalog when I was on shots, I still am but now it only lasts 6 weeks poo....

 

Cheryl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before we immigrated to New Zealand in 1997, I accumulated a big stock of Humalog because I knew that it wasn't available here at the time. I kept it in the fridge, and a year later it was still working fine. The only time I have had insulin lose potency is when it had been left out of the fridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before we immigrated to New Zealand in 1997, I accumulated a big stock of Humalog because I knew that it wasn't available here at the time. I kept it in the fridge, and a year later it was still working fine. The only time I have had insulin lose potency is when it had been left out of the fridge.

 

Now that kinda answers my question. I think that even if it had less potency, and it were for a few days - it would surely be better than going without any. All agree?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that kinda answers my question. I think that even if it had less potency, and it were for a few days - it would surely be better than going without any. All agree?

 

Definitely.

 

I've also had Humalog pens in the fridge for over three months now. I don't remove a pen from the fridge until I'll be using that pen all the time, and then it's only out for 3 weeks or so. They all seem to be working fine for me still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on which insulin. In my experience Lantus is notoriously flaky, opened cartridges can go off if kept at room temp for a week or two. OTOH Novorapid/Novolog seems to be more or less bomb proof. I used to keep my pen in my jeans pocket all day every day (incubating nicely at body temperature) and never had a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Direct exposure to sunlight or UV rays is the main danger for insulin. Apart from that it will last ages. I have used stuff thats gone past its expirey date without realising for a couple of days and didn't notice any lack of potential.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had asked my pharmacist this same question about Apidra and Lantus.

He said as long as they are unopened and remain refrigerated the insulin should be good until the date on the box. He said thats how it comes to the pharmacy.

As for opened boxes I have used Apidra and Lantus for 60 days as long as it is refrigerated , it still works for me :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most insulin has at least a one year shelf date. Insulin comes with "Use By" dates and while I'm not at home, I believe in my last shipment I got a vial or two that don't expire till Jan 2009. Again, it has to be refrigerated during that time to help it last longer and once it's "opened" then it goes bad alot laster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some Novomix 30 from my Pharmacy (Dischem Fourways Johannesburg) a couple of months ago, after using two cartridges from the box i was about to put in my third cartridge when i noticed that the very very small sell by date on the outside of the box was 10 months out of date, this box was dispensed to me about 3 weeks prior.

Of course i panicked a bit and phoned up Novo immediatly who told me to stop taking it and get some new insulin.

I then phoned Dischem to complain and they said that they would phone me back, which they did, and they informed me that their entire stock was 10 months out of date and that they would courier new insulin immediately to my house, which they did.

 

Obviously the first thought to cross my mind would be to sue them, but i was told by my DR that it would take years and years and probably cost me a great deal of money, and anyway, insulin is perfectly safe to take even if its a year out of date.

I was not convinced about this and spent a few days researching it, unfortunatly i never saved the links so i cant point you to the links, but, i found out that insulin has been tested under Lab conditions blah blah and that insulin can be used that is between 20 and 50 years out of date. in fact it loses only about 5% of its strength after 20 years, it was tested because scientists wanted to establish how long insulin would last in the event of a major catastrophe such as asteroids or nuclear war.

 

I will see if i can find the links and i will post them later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here we go, this was what i mean..........

 

This table shows the extremely long periods of time required before the potency is reduced by even small amounts – quite a surprise to most of us!

 

Time of storage of insulin preparations at various temperatures until biological potency is reduced by 2% and 5% respectively

 

Insulin preparation

 

 

4°C

 

 

15°C

 

 

25°C

 

 

40°C

 

Actrapid

 

 

 

 

36 / 92 years

 

 

5 / 13 years

 

 

12 / 31 months

 

 

5 / 14 weeks

 

Semilente

 

 

 

 

45 / 115 years

 

 

4 / 11 years

 

 

7 / 18 months

 

 

2 / 5 weeks

 

Lente

 

 

 

 

36 / 91 years

 

 

3 / 9 years

 

 

5 / 14 months

 

 

1 / 4 weeks

 

Rapitard

 

 

 

 

22 / 55 years

 

 

3 / 8 years

 

 

7 / 17 months

 

 

3 / 7 weeks

 

Ultralente

 

 

 

 

19 / 48 years

 

 

2 / 5 years

 

 

4 / 10 months

 

 

1 / 3 weeks

 

Information source: ‘Galenics of Insulin’ by J Brange M.Sc et al: [Novo Research Institute, Denmark] Springer-Verlag, 1987

 

In emergency situations – poverty, floods, earthquakes

Provided insulin is stored appropriately, it may be used for several years and certainly for at least 12 months after the nominated expiry date. This is particularly important when insulin is provided in an emergency situation, as it can be lifesaving. It is a different sort of emergency for my friend in the US and other people who are building up their stocks of animal insulin because they cannot use the only insulin available to them, ‘human’ insulin, but it is for them an emergency. In emergency, it is unimportant whether the potency is 95% or 99% and in the unlikely event of the potency dropping to 90%, adjustment of the insulin dose would overcome the problem.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm completely out of insulin except for 3 bottles that I found in the back of the fridge. I opened a bottle and is looks crystal clean but expired in 2009. My number is high this morning so the experiment begins. At 6:10am I checked my blood sugar and it was 322 so I took 30U of the expired insulin and I will wait 30 minutes and re-check it. I will write here my findings. I believe if the insulin has been kept in the fridge and not opened that it should be ok and like I said it wasn't cloudy, no flakes of any kind and clear but you never know so I will wait and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate you sharing this with us dazzy34 because I was getting concerned as to what I was going to do. I don't have insurance or the funds to buy my insulin for the next few weeks. So if this experiment works then I will be able to utilize these 3 bottles that at I have found in my fridge. I will keep this link handy so that I can share it with others. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just so you know, Dazzy may not get that message, he posted that over 3 years ago.

 

I am an experimenting type myself, but is there any chance of getting fresh insulin and stabilising, then running this experiment from a position of stability and having insulin you know works for you waiting in the wings. Starting from a blood sugar in the 300s, using insulin with a question mark - please reconsider the wisdom of this. Fine if it works. If not you could be in some trouble, and it could cost you more in the long run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a vial of Humalog on my desk that I use when I don't feel like going to the fridge. It's been on my desk almost three months and thus far, works great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's coming down slowly but surely. I will give it another 30 minutes to be sure.

 

I'm completely out of insulin except for 3 bottles that I found in the back of the fridge. I opened a bottle and is looks crystal clean but expired in 2009. My number is high this morning so the experiment begins. At 6:10am I checked my blood sugar and it was 322 so I took 30U of the expired insulin and I will wait 30 minutes and re-check it. I will write here my findings. I believe if the insulin has been kept in the fridge and not opened that it should be ok and like I said it wasn't cloudy, no flakes of any kind and clear but you never know so I will wait and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No can do....wish I could but the funds just aren't there and at my local Walgreens one bottle is over 60 bucks that I do not have.

 

I realized about dazzy after I wrote the message but decided to send it any way just in case it goes to his/her email address. :)

Just so you know, Dazzy may not get that message, he posted that over 3 years ago.

 

I am an experimenting type myself, but is there any chance of getting fresh insulin and stabilising, then running this experiment from a position of stability and having insulin you know works for you waiting in the wings. Starting from a blood sugar in the 300s, using insulin with a question mark - please reconsider the wisdom of this. Fine if it works. If not you could be in some trouble, and it could cost you more in the long run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remembered something. I forgot to take my Lantus last night. :( That is the reason for the high number this morning. :( Can I take it now or should I wait until my next dose which isn't until tonight? Dog gone it I hate it when I forget things like this. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites