I've been traveling a lot lately. And during one of my outings, I put my extra humalog pen in the hotel fridge. One would think that I would learn from experience, but in fact I don't. So I woke up one morning and took out a bottle of water and noticed the water was partly frozen. This is not good for insulin.
And I don't know if I mentioned it, but I am also cheap. So despite knowing better, I used the pen for like 4-5 days, getting increasingly frustrated at the uselessness of the insulin and my own stupidity for not throwing the thing away. In the end, I had escalated my dosings to like 5 times my usual dose. And then when I started a new pen, I continued my stupidity by not properly going back to my proper I:C and had a few mild hypos. So in honor of my own boneheadedness, I've decided to write a list indications that my insulin is bad. Hopefully one day, I'll actually pay attention to the list.
10. Your insulin vial/pen has been open so long it has cobwebs on it
9. The expiration date is long past
8. You have so many punctures in the stopper you can see sunlight through it
7. You know you have exposed the insulin to freezing or high temperatures, or left it out in the the sunlight far too long
6. Your insulin is cloudy when it is supposed to be clear
5. Your insulin has clumps even after you rolled it like you are supposed to
4. Your insulin has threads or strings in it
3. Insulin from your suspect vial/pen acts much differently than insulin from another just opened vial/pen
2. Your insulin has changed to an "interesting" color
1. Your blood sugar stays high even after you injected 5 times your normal correction dose
Please feel free to add you stories of bad insulin and "indications."
I have heard so many horror stories of people using bad insulin that I would be too scared to use it!
Loved your post! Thanks for your top ten!
You are late for a v-e-r-y important appointment and say to yourself, I can use it one more time...
I had this happen once years ago with Humalog. I only used it for two days ... Finally got rid of it when I realized I'd used almost 200u of Humalog in one day (my usually TDD was 40-50u for Humalog and Lantus combined) and my blood sugar was still stuck in the 300s (where it had been for the past two days).
I was BAD for a couple years and didn't use hardly any of my Novolog pens. So they stockpiled for about 6 months under our previous auto-refill script plan.
THEN the budget was tight while waiting the stupid 6 months to get on insurance, so I was using all those Novolog pens. They actually weren't too bad. Only a few times did I notice that my sugars were running high based on taking the correct amount.
Did I mention they were about 3 years past their expiration date??
Glad you said they were past expiry. I got some 1 year past expiry insulin for free, and it was and is working pretty well as normal. One can not look a gift horse in the mouth. I am glad to have gotten them for free from a friend. I used three penfills of 300u that were 1 year expired (Feb 2011). I am currently using one expired Sept 2011 and have two more of those. I keep them in the fridge and only take them out for less than a minute to do the injection. Up and down temperature changing tends to degrade insulin faster, one customer rep told me from the Lantus manufacturer.
You are one of my models of knowledgeable, information loving, has-it-all-together diabetics, so--as a newbie--I especially appreciate that even you can get off track! Thanks for sharing!
After I had a question about frozen insulin on a trip in January, I started carrying a small thermometer to put in the hotel's in-room refrigerator. It helped a lot.
Thanks again for posting this!
Love # 10, anything that has cobwebs is an automatic discard; I'd be too afraid that the spider might be lurking somewhere nearby.