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What Temperature Should Insulin Be Stored At

Target Temps By Insulin Brand

Diabetes: How to store insulin

Do different insulins have different recommended temperatures for safe storage? Starting with Novo Nordisk, the company that makes more kinds of insulin than anyone else, heres the official word on product storage:

Long-acting insulin Levemir, should be kept in a refrigerator at that sweet spot between 36° and 46° Fahrenheit.

Well, the problem may be that Novo Nordisk is a Danish company, and its cooler in Denmark than in Phoenix, Arizona, or lots of other places. Their official safe room temp for insulin no hotter than 86° F. Meanwhile, open in-use pens and vials, must NOT be stored in a refrigerator , and have the same 42-day life that unopened room temp Levemir has.

Fast-acting insulin Novolog has the same temperature ranges, for both unopened or in use, but a shorter room temperature lifespan: 28 days. It also has an additional interesting note: Six-days max life in an insulin pump reservoir, unless exposed to temperatures in excess of 98.6° F, in which case it needs to be pitched out.

Pumpers: Dont snuggle up with someone running a mild fever.

OK, and what about the newest insulin formulations from Novo? Are they more robust than our old standbys? Nope. Ultra fasting-acting Fiasp has the exact same recommendations as Novolog. Ultra long-acting basal insulin Tresiba has the same temps and rules as Levemir, except it apparently lasts a full 56 days at Danish room temps.

Still, just for fun, lets look at old-school insulin. Was pioneer insulin tougher?

There Are Some Very Simple Products To Help Protect Your Insulin

The Frio Pack is one of the simplest and most affordable storage products to keep your insulin cool in hot environments. The basic model costs $22.99, and requires zero refrigeration. Instead, its a unique technology that is activated by immersing the pack in water for a few minutes. Give it a quick towel-dry, put your insulin inside, and off you go. You can reactivate it as often as you need to.

Does Novolog Insulin Need To Be Refrigerated When And Why The Guide

Its easy to get confused when storing medications. Given the different kinds of insulin available, it can make it confusing on whether or not each type can be refrigerated or has to be refrigerated after an amount of time.

With so many different insulins on the market, weve written this article to focus on whether or not needs to be refrigerated. First, heres a quick summary answer for you to take away, then well get into more detail.

Does Novolog need to be refrigerated? Its not compulsory for Novolog to be refrigerated until 28 days have passed. Using Novolog that is not refrigerated doesnt adversely affect a patient, but after 28 days, its recommended to refrigerate it to maintain the effectiveness. Bacterial growth can make Novolog less effective when it has not been refrigerated.

Now that weve seen the quick answer lets get into some more of the details about refrigerating Novolog.

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What Happens If Insulin Isnt Refrigerated

Storing insulin appropriately is important to make sure its able to do its job in the body.

Insulin keeps your blood sugar levels from getting too high. So, having enough insulin is important to avoid hyperglycemia . Early hyperglycemia symptoms can include feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, and blurry vision. More serious symptoms can include confusion, weakness, and shortness of breath.

If insulin isnt stored correctly, it can spoil and become less effective. If your insulin isnt effective, you could experience hyperglycemia.

People Will Now Be Able To Inject Themselves With Insulin At Home

Storing insulin in home fridges may lower effectiveness ...

The study was co-conducted with the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières .

“For far too long, we were unable to send people with diabetes back to their homes with insulin due to its cold storage requirements. Some of these people were traveling long distances daily, and some even relocated to get their insulin injections at the clinic,” MSF noted in a statement.

“With this new finding of no refrigeration requirement in a climate of up to nearly 99° F and with a well-developed patient education and support program people with diabetes in resource-limited and humanitarian settings will now be able to inject themselves in their homes,” the organization said.

“This greatly improves the significant disruption to their lives…. The ability to self-inject insulin is a fundamental aspect of diabetes self-management and the ability of people with diabetes to be empowered,” the statement continued.

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All Unopened Insulin Should Be Kept In The Refrigerator

It typically has an expiration date of 1 year from the date of purchase. But dont store your insulin in the back of the fridge , and be sure your fridge is at a normal setting of 35°F to 40°F. And double-check the setting when you store insulin temporarily in a friends fridge or at a hotel.

When Insulin Spoils From Too Hot Or Too Cold Temperatures

The tricky thing about insulin that has been quickly destroyed by hot or cold temperatures is that you cant tell its spoiled until you suddenly see your blood sugar levels spiking.

Spoiled insulin doesnt smell, it doesnt change color, it doesnt offer any telltale signs that its ruined except for its lack of impact on your blood sugar.

For people with Type 1 diabetes, this can mean a rapid spike in your blood sugar and life-threatening DKA.

For people with Type 2 diabetes, it can mean a rapid spike in your blood sugar and ongoing difficulty managing your blood sugar depending on how long you continue to use that spoiled insulin.

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Insulin Up To 12 Weeks Freezing It Does Most Damage

However, they did find that insulin remained stable for longer than 28 days in fact, for up to 12 weeks. Those data will be reported in a subsequent article.

This finding may also be relevant in both the developing and developed worlds, such as in a situation in which a person is traveling with backup insulin vials without refrigeration capability.

Thus far, the data seem to suggest that “if you use one vial every 28 days, you can have three vials with you without any problem. If you have five vials and stay 12 weeks, then most likely the unused insulin can’t be used anymore…but you can see it ,” Scapozza said.

Ideally, some key questions should be answered before these data can be incorporated into the insulin labeling, he noted.

“What about 23° to 40° C? What about 25° to 27° C, but night being shorter, so 18 hours day and only 6 hours night? These are questions we’ve been asking, and results are encouraging,” he said.

Scapozza mentioned something else to Medscape Medical News that wasn’t in the article.

“What is the worst thing for insulin? Freezing. If you freeze insulin, the activity is gone within 1 day. Insulin is much more sensitive to freezing than heat. When you freeze, ice crystals form from water. They’re very sharp and really destroy the structure of proteins.”

The research was funded by MSF Switzerland. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

PLoS One. Published online February 3, 2021. Full text

Send news tips to .

Risky Places To Leave Your Insulin Or Diabetes Kit Include:

How to Keep Insulin Cold (When Traveling, at the Beach, or Pool)
  • In your pocket during outdoor winter activity
  • Sitting in direct sunlight during outdoor summer activity
  • Letting your insulin pump rest directly on your skin in hot weather or during exercise
  • Near a heater or heating vent
  • In a suitcase during air travel do not let your insulin get stored on the plane, keep it with you!)

Remember even if your insulin is in a diabetes kit or pouch, its still vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

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How Refrigerating Conditions Differ For Different Insulin Types

Its important to remember that these refrigerating temperatures will vary depending on different factors like brand, type, and even whether or not insulin is in use or not.

As a good example, an unopened disposable insulin pen can be kept outside at room temperature below 86 degrees Fahrenheit for a maximum of 4 weeks. And when refrigerating, it has to be kept between 35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit until expiry.

An opened disposable insulin pen will last for only four weeks maximum regardless of the temperature it is stored in. So, its important to remember that merely refrigerating will not make insulin more effective or last longer.

When it comes to types, its said that rapid-acting insulins spoil faster than the regular insulins. For example, rapid-acting insulin, like Humalog and spoil more quickly than regular and NPH insulins. Its always recommended to keep these insulins under refrigeration from the start or as early as possible. As always, if in any doubt, consult your doctor.

What Is The Right Storage Temperature For Unopened Insulin

The ideal temperature for a vial or pen of insulin is between 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit when its being stored in your refrigerator. Some parts of your fridge might be colder than others, so be sure to check the temperature setting.

You might want to avoid keeping your insulin in the back of the fridge, too, because things can get a little too cold back there. Instead, consider keeping your box of insulin pens or vials in the butter compartment, the door shelving, or one of the produce drawers.

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Be Careful When Traveling By Plane

Never, never, never put your insulin in a suitcase that is going to be checked and stored in the luggage section of the airplane. It can be really hot or really cold in that part of the plane, and youll arrive at your destination with a batch of useless insulin. Always keep all the insulin youre traveling with in your carry-on.

Do Different Forms Of Insulin Have Unique Storage Instructions

Lantus Insulin Storage Temperature

Different forms of insulin, and even different brands, may have different storage instructions. Below, well discuss how different forms of insulin are stored. Always read the instructions on your insulin box and ask your pharmacist for specific storage directions.

For reference, refrigerated temperature is 36°F to 46°F and room temperature is 59°F to 77°F or 86°F .

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Storing & Handling Insulin

Keep any vials or cartridges of insulin you are not using in the fridge until they reach their expiry date. Keep them away from the freezer and freezer coils, at a temperature of 2 to 4º C.

Keep any vials or cartridges you are using at room temperature. Cold insulin may sting when you inject it and take longer to work. Four weeks after you have opened a vial or cartridge, throw away any left over insulin.

When travelling, keep your insulin in as cool a place as possible, and keep it in your hand luggage when flying. You should store your insulin in an insulated container to protect it from extreme temperatures.

Do not:

  • keep insulin in a very hot or very cold place, as this could stop it from working properly
  • keep insulin in the glove box of a car
  • freeze your insulin
  • expose your insulin to strong light or heat.

Handling your insulin

Before you use cloudy insulin, you need to mix it well. If you are using a vial, gently roll it between the palms of your hands or move the vial up and down 20 times.

If you are using an insulin pen, turn the pen up and down 20 times before you use it, to mix the insulin well.

If you are using a syringe and draw up more insulin than you need, throw away the leftover amount. Don’t squirt it back into the vial, as this could contaminate all the insulin in the vial.

Always check the expiry date on the insulin vial or cartridge before you use it.

How To Safely Store Insulin

Insulin is a medication that needs to be kept at the proper temperature. If it freezes or gets too hot, it can break down and no longer help you control your blood sugar level. This could hurt not only your health but your wallet, since the cost of insulin has risen dramatically in recent years.

Read on to learn why proper storage is essential and get tips for preventing your insulin from becoming damaged.

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At What Temperature Should Insulin Have To Be Kept At

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Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

Storage Of Unopened Insulin:

Insulin Questions: Where do I store my insulin?

Insulin is very sensitive to sunlight, indoor lights, and to extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Insulin is not OK to use if exposed to very hot or cold weather. The three drug manufacturers of insulin in the United States say UNOPENED insulin is best stored inside the fridge . UNOPENED insulin stored in the refrigerator is good until the expiration date printed on the insulin box. The expiration date will usually be 1 year from the date of purchase but you have to check the box to find ou

Cartridges for an insulin pump as seen above are also best stored inside the fridge and will last until the expiration date.

Storage of OPENED insulin:

Once open there are different storage needs for insulin. What does OPEN mean? This does NOT mean removed from the box. OPEN means the insulin cap is removed and the rubber stopper was punctured.

Vials and pens have different needs for storage. These differences can lead to confusion. Therefore, it is very important for you to become familiar with the recommendations for the insulin product that you use.

What is an OPEN vial?

Vial: Once the vial is punctured, it is OPEN. Once you stick a needle in the vial, it is OPEN. OPEN vials can be stored in the fridge or at CONTROLLED room temperature. Regardless of where it is stored, OPEN insulin will only last 28 days before it must be thrown away. Insulin kept in the fridge should be removed and allowed to reach room temperature before injection.

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Why Is Insulin Stored In The Fridge

insulininsulinInsulinstored in the refrigerator

. Similarly, you may ask, why does insulin have to be refrigerated?

Why Insulin Should Be RefrigeratedSo, like any other protein, insulin can spoil. This is why it needs to be refrigerated to keep it from spoiling. Think of insulin as a form of meal. If you keep it out for long it’s going to get spoiled.

Likewise, how long can insulin be left unrefrigerated? 28 days

In this way, where should insulin be stored in the refrigerator?

Keep unused bottles, cartridges, and pens of insulin in the refrigerator . If stored properly, these will be good until the expiration date listed on the insulin. Keep insulin cartridges and pens that you’re currently using at room temperature

Is it OK to inject cold insulin?

Most insulin makers recommend storing it in the refrigerator, but injecting cold insulin can be uncomfortable. Make sure it’s at room temperature before injecting. Ask your doctor whether to store your insulin in the fridge or at room temperature.

Do Not Inject Cold Insulin

Injecting cold insulin may sting and take longer to work. You can warm up insulin as follows:

  • Vial: If you are using a vial, gently roll it between the palms of your hands or move the vial up and down 20 times.
  • Pen: If you are using an insulin pen, turn the pen up and down 20 times before you use it, to mix the insulin well.

Do not microwave insulin to warm it, as this could stop it from working properly.

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Being Mindful Insulin Temperature In Day

Leaving your insulin in a hot car during July heat for 15 minutes while youre getting groceries probably wont destroy your insulin, but much longer definitely could. This is why its extremely important to be mindful about when and where you keep your opened insulin.

If insulin is exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures for too long even just 60 minutes it can break down very quickly, to the point of not having any real impact on your blood sugar.

Remember, 65 degrees outside can mean its 80 degrees in your car.

And on the flip-side, a cold winters day could mean the inside of your car or your jacket packet on the ski slope is 10 degrees, easily cold enough to destroy your insulin.

Even During The Winter Be Wary Of Heat

How to Store Insulin

If you visit a friends house and accidentally put your bag down right in front of a heating vent, your insulin might get cooked and destroyed during your visit. The same goes for when youre in a car, or even leaving your kit on top of the stove when the oven is preheating. Just be aware, always, that your insulin is in a safe spot.

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Standard Temperature For Refrigerating Insulin

As mentioned, insulin can be kept at room temperature for a maximum approximation of 28 to 30 days. The standard recommendation from all insulin manufacturers says a vial of insulin in use can be kept at room temperature for 28 days.

Room temperature for insulin in use specifies a temperature range between 59 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature for insulin not in use should be kept at a temperature between 36 degrees and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature gets colder or warmer than that, itll either freeze or start to break down as a result of being too warm. The term break down again refers to when the bacteria starts growing, making the insulin ineffective or lose its strength.

If you live in a warmer climate, its safer for you to refrigerate your insulin when the temperature goes above about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the maximum 28 days are not over.


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