We would never waste our food or allow it to become spoiled by the heat, but what about medicines? Medicines should not be the exception, specifically insulin.
Insulin is a protein which is dissolved in water and is required to manage blood sugar levels in diabetics. As with any protein, bacteria can grow in insulin, making it susceptible to become spoiled. Bacteria can also break down the proteins in insulin and makes it less effective. Keeping insulin cool can help prevent it from spoiling and maintain its effectiveness. The recommended temperature for storage, once opened, should be anywhere from 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit. For insulin not in use, store between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit. For many diabetics, insulin is most comfortably administered at room temperature.
Some other storage tips include:
• Do not freeze or use thawed insulin. The freezing temperature will break down the proteins and will not work to lower blood sugar levels.
• Do not leave in sunlight. This can break down the proteins in insulin as well.
• Inspect insulin prior to each use. Ensure that there are no clumps, crystals or particles in the bottle or pen. Insulin should be clear.
• Write the ‘start use’ date on the insulin vial and discard after 28 days or if it’s been opened.
• Never use expired insulin.
• Be wary of any unusual smells. Insulin should never have an odor or bad smell.
Insulin is administered in many forms including injections, pens or cartridges. Each may have different recommended storage times based on their manufacturer. It is important to check with a pharmacist, package insert, or the manufacturers’ website to ensure proper storage temperature of insulin.
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center operates a retail pharmacy. The hours of operation for the Pharmacy are: Monday through Friday 9:00am to 7:00pm and Saturday, 8:00am to 6:00pm. For any further questions on medication storage, please feel free to contact 718-206-8515.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.