Keeping Insulin cool

By vgarrison Latest Reply 2009-04-26 12:06:09 -0500
Started 2009-03-19 00:18:47 -0500

I was just wondering if everyone keeps their insulin in the fridge? I was told by 3 different pharmacists that once I open my vials (or pens, depending on the med) that I didn't need to refrigerate it anymore. Once the 30 days are up, it doesn't matter if its cool or not. I keep the unopened med in the fridge, but after that I keep it in a tuperwear container in my cupboard.

So far I have never had any problems, but then again I have been doing this since day one.


28 replies

alwaystryin 2009-04-26 12:06:09 -0500 Report

Always follow Medication directions. Sounds easy? Well, different insulins seem to be different, but it seems to be more in the type of container it is in. I know I have had issues of higher than usual readings and it coincided with older than 28 day Lantus. We have been using Pen samples we got from the Doc and the numbers started to creep downward a bit. She just ran out of Metformin almost 5 days ago or so, and I am seeing spikes, real high, and understanding how Metformin works helps me understand why the numbers suck, today.

dj7110 2009-04-06 13:22:59 -0500 Report

When I get my script filled, comes 3 bottles at a time per script. I keep mine in the fridge with the exception of the bottles that I'm currently using. I keep them in my insulin case at room temp. The case holds 2 needles and 2 insulin bottles. It also has a freezer pack that I keep in the freezer and put in the case on hot days when I ever have to travel outside in hot weather.

pop2 2009-04-26 11:59:56 -0500 Report

May be because due different types of insulin , I know my 70/30 70% nph mixed and 30% reg insulin will seperate and form crystals sooner.
than my just regular insulin but to be on the safe side it can be kept unrefrigerated , as long as it is kept as cool as possible below (86 degrees F and 30 degrees C ) bottles not in use should be stored in refrigerator. keep away from heat and light. Thats according to my information inside my box of insulin.

Lanore 2009-04-06 12:30:42 -0500 Report

Hey Vicki,

That is what i do…keep it in the fridge and than on the dishwasher to use. I was also told it didn't have to be in fridge when in use.

Sarguillo 2009-04-06 12:35:03 -0500 Report

SOunds like a good plan. But I know that when my diswasher goes through the heat/dry cycle, heat rises. You might want to watch that in case it is heating up your insulin. Hope all is well.

vgarrison 2009-04-03 12:21:02 -0500 Report

So basically you have to really watch the insulin in the more extreme temps…like dont leave it in your car in the warm months…and dont leave it in your car in the winter…ok got it…LOL


Desdemona 2009-04-03 13:57:16 -0500 Report

You've got it. It's not that the insulin just says ' OK- 29 days- I'm bad!'. It's more that it should be stable for 28 days @ room temp, and after that- it may or may not be effective.
Also- room temp insulin isn't an irritant- cold IS. And, it has to warm to body temp before it becomes fully effective, and it doesn't take as long if it's already warm.

Sarguillo 2009-04-03 14:02:12 -0500 Report

They sell travel kits. Mine has a pocket for a small ice pack. It also has a thermometer so I can see what the inside temp is at that moment. It keeps it coold on a hot day. Good luck.

bigjrm45 2009-04-03 17:24:31 -0500 Report

Read your vials it will tell you , and my vials do NOT say room temp.I might not know how to spell but I can read.

Sarguillo 2009-04-06 12:10:16 -0500 Report

Ok, I have my kit with me. I can read too. It states:

Novo Nordisk
.Important: see insert
.To mix, shake carefully
.Keep in a cold place
.avoid freezing.

IT does not give a listing of what degrees to keep it at.
It does not say to keep in refriderator.

Now ADA states the following:

Insulin Storage

Although manufacturers recommend storing your insulin in the refrigerator, injecting cold insulin can sometimes make the injection more painful. To counter the reaction, many providers suggest storing the bottle of insulin you are using at room temperature. Insulin kept at room temperature will last approximately one (1) month.

Remember though, if you buy more than one bottle at a time — a possible money saver — store the extra bottles in the refrigerator. Then, take out the bottle ahead of time so it is ready for your next injection.

Do not store your insulin near extreme heat or extreme cold. Never store insulin in the freezer, direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of a car.

Make sure that you check the expiration date, especially if you have had the bottle for a while. Don't use any insulin beyond its expiration date and examine the bottle closely to make sure the insulin looks normal before you draw the insulin into the syringe. If you use regular, check for particles or discoloration of the insulin. If you use NPH or lente, check for "frosting" or crystals in the insulin on the inside of the bottle or for small particles or clumps in the insulin.

If you find any of these in your insulin, do not use it, and return the unopened bottle to the pharmacy for an exchange and/or refund.

You can find this at the:

You store your how you want, I'll store mine how I want. Its all good.

pop2 2009-04-02 23:04:02 -0500 Report

I have kept it at room temp. but do not not let it get to hot. like I had it in my purse and the heat from the sun made it spoil it seperated and looked stuck to the bottle looked graney I walked around at a county fair last summer,with it in my purse. and if you take it doest work. do not freeze or let it get to hot.

kdroberts 2009-03-20 19:36:32 -0500 Report

As far as I know vials always have to be kept cool and expire 28 days after opening. Pens have to be kept refrigerated until you use them and then expire 28 days later.

2009-03-19 19:14:47 -0500 Report

I am probably the most recently diagnosed of anyone. 3 months ago, about 8 doctors told me to keep the open bottle at room temp. LOL The ones that had never been open were to stay in the frig. They also told me to toss it out after it was open for 28 days? Heck, I don't, the crap is too expensive! I don't take a large amount of insulin so until it turns green or pink, I'm still using it. Am I wrong to do that? Still learning! :( Angie

lipsie 2009-03-19 21:48:43 -0500 Report

hmmmm I can see your point though I dunno how safe/accurate the medication is really after that time point, good question, wish I knew the right answer for you hun, sorry. Sheila

vgarrison 2009-03-20 01:38:06 -0500 Report

I had asked my pharmacist the same question about the experiation date, but he told me that the reason they say 28 days is because anytime after that the active insulin becomes unactive. You could take 20 units and it would be like injecting saline…Now I would never recomend trying this, but this is how it was explained to me. I have gone a couple of days past and been fine, but I don't do it any longer than I have to.


2009-03-20 07:51:46 -0500 Report

Thanks all, I'm going to see my doctor on Monday. I will ask him about this. My BS holds fine, but that could just be for now. This is my personal doctor that I can get some real answers from. I will let you know what he says! Hugs, Angie

kdroberts 2009-03-20 19:39:43 -0500 Report

Actually, most insulins break down pretty quickly after their use by date and after the 28 days. You will then just be essentially injecting water. You may want to look into pens. They come in boxes of 5 and 300 units per pen. Because the pen is smaller it's often more economical if you are not using a whole vial in the 28 days.

2009-03-20 19:45:16 -0500 Report

Thanks KD. I am definitely going to talk with my doctor on Monday. The pen might be the thing for me. If I do need to toss them after 28 days, I will be wasting a lot of insulin. Thanks again, Angie

kdroberts 2009-03-20 20:12:15 -0500 Report

I forgot to add, generally the pens are more expensive than the vials so you may need to break out the old calculator.

vgarrison 2009-03-21 01:17:23 -0500 Report

kd you are very right about the cost ratio when it comes to the pen vs the vial. My insurance company will not pay for the pen unless I am a student and then its only for convenience. I take Novolog for my meals and never ever use the whole pen in a month let alone a whole vial. I did the math the other day, and it's costing the insurance company over 200 bucks a month for giving me the vial on both of my meds (I also take Lantus at night). Hey it's their money, but you would think they would go the cheaper route…


vgarrison 2009-03-19 16:25:14 -0500 Report

Awsome, Sounds to me like I'm doing the same thing as everyone else…just wanted to make sure!!


caspersmama 2009-03-19 19:00:48 -0500 Report

When I was on insulin I did the same thing as you did. Once I opened it, it stayed in my kit. Others stayed in the fridge.

Sarguillo 2009-03-19 11:31:13 -0500 Report

I am only on one insulin. Its not a pen. Its a bottle. I keep in fridge untill I open and remove top of bottle. From that point on, it stays in my kit. My kit has my syringes, my meds. My log book. My meter, lancet and strips. The kit does have a cool pack that I can freeze or refrig to keep the temp of my kit down if needed. Only in hot summer do I fridge my cool pack for the kit. Otherwise, its room temp. I find that too cold insulin just doesnt feel right. My kit has a temp gauge and it reads 65 degrees at the moment. My doc tells me that its ok to keep a bottle between 50 and 86 degrees. Not over 86 degrees. at the end of 28 days, out it goes and in comes a new bottle.

bigjrm45 2009-03-19 11:27:47 -0500 Report

I don't know but on my vials the Lantus reads store Refrigerated and my NovoLog says keep in a cold place Avoid freezing ,hope that helps you out.

lipsie 2009-03-19 03:30:22 -0500 Report

I keep the one bottle out of course that i am currently using…any others stay in fridge until you go to open and use them. They are to stay in the fridge until being used. I kind of got confused on the end part of your question, wasn't sure if you said you keep your unopended ones in the fridge until used or not. Hope this helps. Good luck! Sheila

bigjrm45 2009-03-19 00:24:15 -0500 Report

I always keep it in the fridge,my pen I take for work and when I get back home it goes right back in the fridge

Next Discussion: Buyer Beware »