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Insulin Storage and Safety for People with Diabetes

Insulin Storage and Safety for People with Diabetes

by Owen Clarke 29 Oct 2021

Insulin is a substance that plays an extremely important role in the body of every person out there. With its help, blood sugar level control is performed, and various dangerous health conditions may be avoided. However, there is a disease that makes it impossible for glucose to be stored in the body cells properly and provide a person with enough energy to go through the day. Of course, we are talking about diabetes mellitus.

For people with this disease, insulin medications are required for proper blood sugar control. And it is vital to be aware of the storage rules for different types of insulin to keep medications effective and support one’s health in the right way. So, in today’s article, we would like to talk more about the storage conditions insulin medications need; all important details are in our blog!

Insulin forms of release

For more comfortable exploitation, different forms of insulin medications are available to those with diabetes. We are talking about vials with syringes, insulin pens with cartridges, and insulin pumps.

  • Insulin syringe. These are available in different sizes (0.3, 0.5, and 1.0 ml), which are defined depending on a needed insulin dosage. The needles length varies as well (from 6 to 8 mm), and it should be chosen together with a medical professional depending on the individual body peculiarities of the patient. Syringe reuse is not an option because it is meant for single use only, as well as needles. They also cannot be used by two different people even if the needles were replaced. Medications for syringes usually come in vials;
  • Insulin pen. Pens are more comfortable devices with insulin for people with diabetes mellitus. They can easily be used even in public places as they don’t take a lot of space and don’t attract too much attention. There are two main types of pens – disposable and reusable ones. The first kind already has a cartridge with a certain dose inside and should be thrown away right after the injection; the second may be used for a long time, a person should only change cartridges as soon as the one currently in pen is finished. Cartridges with insulin can be purchased separately in the online or local pharmacy;
  • Insulin pumps. These programmable devices are worn outside the body and contain a certain amount of insulin. The medication is automatically released into the fatty tissue of the abdomen via plastic tubes in order to control blood glucose properly. Keep in mind that only rapid-acting insulin can be used with a pump; long-acting insulin is more comfortable administering by the pen or syringe.

Storage rules for various types of insulins

Storage rules for various types of insulins

Proper insulin storage is very important because it should be of great quality in order to help people with blood sugar control, as well as to provide a maximum result. In this paragraph, we are going to discuss proper storage conditions for insulin products, both opened and unopened. So, without further ado, let’s talk about this topic in more detail.

Unopened products

Unopened insulin (despite the form it comes in) should always be stored in the refrigerator. The temperature may vary from 2 to 8°C. Please, keep in mind that refrigerated insulin cannot be stored in the freezer, close to the freezer compartment, or near the back of the fridge where the temperature is typically lower. All because extreme cold temperature affects insulin products negatively. Frozen insulin cannot be used to treat a person. You should pay attention to the expiration date on the box in order not to inject the bad medication.

Injecting cold insulin is not recommended, so make sure to warm the remedy up before the administration. In this way, there will be less inconveniences and uncomfortable sensations.

Opened products, or those currently in use

Vials with medication, as well as injecting refrigerated insulin, can be stored at room temperature after opening; the main condition here is that the temperature shouldn’t exceed 25°C. It is also better to look for a dark, dry place to store medications, as direct sunlight may have a harmful influence on insulin. Keep away from the extreme heat, cold and away from kids.

Specialists recommend writing the date of opening on the product (you can do it with the help of a sharpie), as well as the day it should be thrown away. The thing is, if insulin is not used 28 days after opening, it loses its characteristics and may even affect one’s health negatively. Some insulins have a shorter lifespan, so it is better to consult with a specialist and read the instruction included in the box. In case you are traveling or carrying your insulin pens and syringes around in your purse, we recommend buying a special thermal pouch that will keep the medication at a recommended temperature. It is also better to check the solution before every injection in order to make sure it is not spoiled. And in case you are not aware of how to distinguish bad insulin from the good one – keep reading; the following paragraph is dedicated to this topic.

Expired insulin cannot be used for adequate blood sugar control

If you store insulin correctly, the chances of it going bad are miserable. However, it is always better to be prepared and aware to avoid any type of possible health complications. That is why doctors usually tell patients about safety rules and storage conditions when giving insulin prescription to individuals. To be honest, there are not so many things you need to check before the administration:

  • Whether insulin turned cloudy (when at the beginning it was clear);
  • Naturally cloudy insulin has foreign particles, lumps, or flakes and cannot be resolved by careful shaking of the vial, pen, or cartridge;
  • The expiration date of the medication has been reached;
  • Insulin was frozen or exposed to hot temperatures;
  • The device a person is going to use was opened or out of the fridge for longer than a month.

The bottom line

Insulin medications require certain storage conditions, temperature, and exploitation rules. Each factor should be carefully controlled and checked because if something is wrong with a remedy, a person may experience severe side effects and zero blood sugar level control; as followed, dangerous, life-threatening conditions become more possible. We really hope that our readers learn new things about the way insulin should be kept and will follow our pieces of advice in the future. One more time, thanks for reading!

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