OK, so I know on the patient information sheet it says once opened an insulin pen or vial can be used for 28 days and then should be discarded. Does anyone really do this ? Or is this just the pharma company's way to force us to buy more ?
I have only recently started keeping track of when I opened a pen and I notice today that the pen I have at work is now 3 days past it's life expectancy. I haven't noticed any significant drop off in potency or any highs I can't explain, but I am just curious how many actually follow the pharma company suggestions.
I don't. I'm on the pump and usually don't have a single bottle open that long but I generally keep a bottle in my desk at work just in case I run out at work. I try to rotate it out, but don't always do so.
I wouldn't even think twice about something 3 days old. Heck, 3 months hasn't ever been a problem for me. YMMV, and I'm not saying you should let your insulin sit out for 3 months at room temperature, but..... back in the day we didn't even refrigerate it after opening and it seemed to still work
I'm with Glen. I'm on a pump too and always mark my apidra vials. I usually make it about a month - I actually don't even remember if the vials have a 28-day warning?
But when I was on pens, the same thing. I'd keep track of the date just to know to have it in my head in case there was a problem with blood sugars I'd know if that was a possible cause. But if your blood sugars are fine, then no way would I throw it away!
Today once opened they recommend storing at room temp, not refrigerating, but that may just their way of making us purchase more insulin because it probably breaks down faster at room temp.
I have never thrown out insulin it's a rare commodity. I have never had a Doctor/CDE tell me to throw out my insulin after a certain amount of time.
I have actually had a CDE tell me to only use it for the 28 days and then replace the pen or vial.
I've had CDEs tell me that too. I nod, smile, and keep using my insulin anyway. ;)
I use my vials of Humalog and Lantus for 6 to 8 weeks (stored in fridge).
Of course the patient info sheet says once opened do not store it in the fridge it should be kept at room temp. At least that is what it says for the pens, I think the vials are the same though.
I've always kept my pens - and now vials - in the fridge.Never been a problem. Just reduces the variables.
I tend to use slightly more than a month. I actually take the novolog that I've been using for the past month and stick it in my purse for use when I'm out--so I use them for slightly more than two months. This past month, I had a few highs toward the end--which I think I can attribute to the lantus being slightly watered down, but I don't know. When I changed vials it did go away. It was about 40 days open.
I think the rationalle is that opening the vial (or pen) ruins the sterialization. Even though you're using a sterile needle in a sterile container, the air that you push in isn't sterile and begins the process of denaturing the insulin. After 28 days, the cumulitive effect starts being a problem but it's probably not too bad--it's not as though 28 days is magic (like at 27, the insulin is perfect and on 28 it's turned to a weak solution comprised mostly of water and bandaid smell) but the manufacturers/FDA begin not to trust it starting then.
I always use up my insulin within a month, so I've never had the problem of having to throw out expired insulin. However, I've heard of some people having unexplained high blood sugars for 3 or 4 days in a row. They change to a fresh vial or cartridge of insulin, and things are fine. 28 days is a just a suggestion anyway. If it gets exposed to extreme heat, it might last less than that.
There was a time a few months back that I thought my Apidra pen had lost its potency after 28 days because I was having some crazy numbers. In the following months, I tested the theory and I think it may have been other factors at work. The last pen I used for about 40 days and it seemed okay. I hated to throw away any pens with insulin left in them during the Apidra pen shortage! Now that I can get the pens again, I'm on the fence about how long to keep using one.