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June 25, 2002

Insulin

Question from Hurst, Texas, USA:

My 11 year old likes his insulin at room temperature, but the bottles are only good for 28 days, and it seems so wasteful to throw away two whole bottles of insulin a month! We can hardly tell he has used any insulin at all. How many units does the bottle contain? Do the insulin companies make any smaller vials for small users?

Answer:

I suggest you use pen cartridges that contain either 150 or 300 units per cartridge. You can draw up the dose using a regular syringe if you do not have a pen device. Ask your doctor to write a special insulin prescription.

HVS

[Editor’s comment: A vial of insulin contains 1000 units which would be used by most (who have the majority of diabetes) in less than a month. So, it is not cost-effective for the manufacturers to provide it in small vials.

Any opened vial of insulin is only good for 28 days (refrigerated or not), and an opened cartridge only lasts a week.

SS]