How to store insulin

How to store insulin

All insulin pens and bottles (vials) have expiration dates. Insulin pens and vials that are refrigerated and unopened are good until the expiration date. Once opened, vials are good for 28 days.

“Opened” means that the rubber has been punctured. Once in use, pen expiration dates vary depending on the type of insulin being used. Do not use insulin after the expiration date. Always follow the instructions that come with your insulin.

How to store your insulin

  • Store your insulin according to instructions on the packaging.
  • If insulin is kept at room temperature, keep the temperature between 56–80°F (13–27°C).
    • Opened insulin vials may be kept at room temperature, or in the refrigerator and warmed to room temperature before use.
    • Opened insulin pens should be kept at room temperature.
  • If insulin is kept in the refrigerator, keep the temperature between 36–46°F (3–8°C).
  • Do not freeze insulin.
  • Keep insulin away from direct heat or sunlight.

How to throw away your supplies

  • Throw away your insulin if:
    • It is discolored.
    • It is thick.
    • It has clumps in it.
    • It has white particles suspended in it.
  • Discard all used needles in a puncture-proof sharps disposal container. You can ask your local pharmacy about where you can get this kind of disposal container, or you can use an empty liquid laundry detergent bottle that has a lid, for example.
  • Follow the disposal regulations for the area where you live.
  • Do not use any syringe or needle more than one time.
  • Throw away empty vials and pens (with needles removed) in the regular trash.

General recommendations

  • Always keep extra insulin and supplies with you.
  • Always inspect your insulin prior to injecting. Do not use if you notice any discoloration, particles, or clumping.
  • Mix cloudy insulin by gently rolling the vial between your hands or “rocking” the pen from end to end at least 10 times.
  • Do not leave insulin in your vehicle or in any place where it can get too hot or too cold.
  • Use an insulated travel pack to store your insulin vials or pens when traveling.

Where to find more information

Summary

  • Do not store insulin in extreme heat or cold, such as in the freezer, direct sunlight, or your vehicle.
  • Check the expiration date before using insulin and do not use insulin past the expiration date.
  • Check insulin before using to make sure it looks normal. Mix cloudy insulin before using. Do not use insulin if it is discolored, has particles, or clumps.
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