Beyond use dating of insulins

A: Bacteria growing in it will break down the protein. Q: I have been told it's OK to keep a bottle of insulin I'm using at room temperature. Room temperature is defined as between 59 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

This works because all the standard insulin preparations have preservatives in them -- which will keep the insulin good for a while, but eventually stop working.

But the drug's stability and potency is only guaranteed for 28 days.

Opened insulin pens typically last 14 days, though some last only 10 days.

Store unopened insulin vials and pen cartridges in the fridge, though, where they should last until their expiration date.

When either of you opens a new vial or pen, make a note on the calendar -- and note the date when you'll need to throw out any remaining insulin.

This is definitely not everything there is to know; these are just the questions I have been asked most often.

Q: Why am I supposed to store insulin in a refrigerator? (You can think of it as something like a soup broth.) Like any other protein, it can spoil. Q: What will happen if the insulin starts to spoil? If this happens to you, your blood sugar would be higher than you expect, even though you have given your injection in the right amount at the right time. A: Insulin you are not using should be kept between 36 degrees and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets warmer than that, it will be good for a while, but eventually it will start to break down. A: Yes, the standard recommendation from all the insulin manufacturers is that a vial of insulin you are using can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days.

I have received quite a few questions lately about why people are supposed to do particular things when drawing insulin and giving injections.

So here are answers to those questions, organized into three general topics: storing, drawing, and injecting insulin.

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