Do Lantus Pens Need To Be Refrigerated?

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Beware Summer Extremes With Insulin

Living with diabetes blog With summer arriving in Minnesota and many other places, I'd like to talk about how to manage insulin storage in extreme temperatures such as this season brings. A number of years ago, I met with a client who used a rapid insulin pen for meal dosing. She shared with me a story of how she attended the county fair on an exceptionally hot day, and had placed her insulin pen in the back pocket of tight jeans and walked around the fairgrounds all day. She used the pen for covering meals eaten at the fair, and her blood sugars were running higher than normal, but she related this to all the junk food. The next day her blood sugars continued to run high and when she took her (rapid) insulin, it didn't seem to affect her blood sugar level at all; in fact, it was like she was taking water instead of insulin. She wondered if the heat had affected her insulin, so she switched to a new insulin (disposable) pen, and soon after her blood sugars started to drop. Has this or something similar happened to you? I looked at insulin manufacturers' websites and found that for the majority of all types and brands of insulin, the maximum temperatures recommended are as follows: Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Essie

    Does anyone use the Frio wallets? Do you recommend them.
    I started using insulin in November and have yet to encounter hot weather, but it is coming very soon. Where I live high 90's and triple digits are common. I am mostly homebound but we are planning some long day trips coming up. I am looking at two things. One, keeping my current opened Humalog and Lantus vials cool and it seems like the Frio will do this. Secondly because I worry that something could bappen while we are several hours away from home that would delay our return, I would like to carry an un-opened vial of each in case. If not opened but kept at room temperature will it now have the "good for 28 days" clock start ticking? Is there a better way to carry those?
    I would love to hear what others do to keep their insulin cool on the go.
    ​Thank you!

  2. mollythed

    I wouldn't worry about keeping a single pen of each type in a Frio pack for a day. The only significant factor I would be concerned about is that because the pack cools by evaporation, it is important to keep it in a place where air can circulate freely, not tucked away snugly in a purse or backpack, and not in directed sunlight all the time.
    I am a little less confident about how to carry a second pen. Usually, if you are traveling by car or plane, and carrying insulin you want to use for several days away from home, you can use a lunchbox, with ice or a reusuable icepack to keep the box cool, but wrapping the insulin pen or vial in something like a washcloth or towel to protect it from getting TOO cold and freezing. You can replace the ice as needed while you are traveling, with ice from flight attendants, a hotel, or even when eating at a restaurant.
    It gets a little more "iffy" keeping insulin in a Frio type pack. One thing to consider is how long it takes you to use each pen. If you are quite insulin resistant and normally use up an entire pen in, say, three days, and you really do use your spare pen next, so that it is reasonably cool for two to six days, you are probably fine with the Frio. If you normally use only ten units a day, so that the spare pen might go unrefrigerated for nearly a month, I would suggest using the lunch box method instead for your spare pens.
    The problem with insulin when it doesn't stay cool is that it gradually loses its effectiveness. It can still be used, but you may need a little more of it to get the effect you need. If I brought a pen home from a trip unused, I would want to be VERY careful to make sure I did begin using it regularly as soon as I needed a new pen. and watch for any loss of strenght as the days went by. I wouldn't just keep it separate to be used once again as a spare.
    When I bring new insulin home from the pharmacy, the expiration date is usually about two years in the future. Under the right conditions, it does last a long time. There are no guidlines, no clear-cut rules once we start to take liberties with those rules, and nobody wants to make any promises for those inbetween conditions. What we do know, is the longer it stays warm, and the warmer it gets, the sooner it will start to lose its strength. That's where we need to use a little common sense.

  3. Essie

    Thank you Molly. I don't know if it makes a difference but I don't have pens. I have the old fashioned syringes/vials of jnsulin.

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