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From New York, USA:

I have been told not to refrigerate insulin because the cold can feel unpleasant to a child. I was also told to never use a bottle of insulin for more than a month. Is this true? Must I throw out inulin every month even if it seems to still have its full potency?


You are correct, insulin does lose a small amount of potency each month if it is not refrigerated. Some children do complain about stinging after injecting cold insulin, so I always teach parents and kids to roll the syringe in their hands for a few seconds to warm it up a little. Remember that stinging can be from other things like wet alcohol on the skin (that's why I don't have my children use alcohol). If you notice an increase in blood sugars that you can't explain with any other reason, switching to a new bottle of insulin (regardless of the age of the bottle) is always a good idea.


Additional comments from Dr. Quick:

Many diabetes experts advise leaving the present bottle of insulin at room temperature (storing the spare bottles in the refrigerator). It doesn't seem to affect the potency of insulin that much. In little kids (or other people on very small insulin doses, a bottle of insulin could theoretically last many months, but the stuff does lose some potency month by month, and after a month (or two at most), it's felt to be much wiser to use a new bottle than to try to figure out how much potency the insulin has lost.


Original posting 5 Jan 1999
Posted to Insulin


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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