At what point does insulin go bad?

The refridge downstairs has not been working I assume since last Friday ( one week ago) since I put something in there. I had 16 boxes of Lantus Solistar pens in there.UGHHH 80 pens!!! Granted the temp has stayed at a steady rate and gradually went down to the level it is at now. It has not been opened since last Friday.The cellar is a bit cooler and the temp outside this past week has been very cool (averaging 45 degrees I guestemate).Meaning the cellar has been on the cool side.

It says on the box to store at 36-45 degrees. Am sure inside fridge it is 50-55..

Do I have to throw all this insulin out???

It must stay good even at room temp, because it says once pen is opened it can stay in room temp and not to refridge once it has been opened. And it takes at least a week for me to use up one pen that has been at room temp (68 degrees).

GRRR I will call the Dr. tomorrow, but would still like your opinion , or if this has ever happened to you and it is fine or you had to throw it all away.



I’m Not a Doctor, But “Proctology” Is Just a Funny Word

I think it should be fine. I certainly wouldn’t throw it all out! If you start having uncharacteristically high numbers as you use this insulin, that would be a clue that it has gone bad. It can’t hurt you, it just won’t be as effective. Even if this happens, I would still check another pen or another box, but I think it shouldn’t be a problem for all the reasons you mentioned. Sounds like a good time a year to have this happen!

Ummm. So is there a reason that you have more than a year a half supply of insulin? Granted, probably would not have expired if properly stored, but there is stockpiling and then there is “serious stockpiling.”

Your insulin is assured by the manufacturer to be good for 28 days if it is stored at room temperature.

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Craig. I second what Zoe said. In my twenty six plus years of injecting insulin with MDI I’ve never had any go bad, at least as far as I could tell. I would however be concerned of degradation do to extreme hot or cold temperatures and if improperly mixed. You don’t mix so there’s no concern there. The manufacturer recommends storage of unopened Lantus vials at a temp. of 36-46F.

“Long-term storage stability (unopened vial).Lantus was found to meet stability criteria for at least 24 months when stored between 36 and 46°F (2 and 8°C) (Aventis, data on file). Accelerated stability testing at 77°F (25°C) revealed a slight loss in activity by 9 months. Testing at 95–102°F (35–39°C) for 1 month revealed an increase in impurities without loss of activity. Lantus should be stored in a refrigerator to maintain the labeled expiration date. In the absence of refrigeration, unopened vials of Lantus should be discarded after 28 days.”

In your case it doesn’t look like they tested for storage of unopened vials between 47-76F. If it were my insulin I wouldn’t worry about it. I would however be telling my insurance not to send me insulin stockpiles to avoid this type of situation.

Read this article by Dr. Grajower. How Long Should Insulin Be Used Once a Vial Is Started?

This will give you the most clarification to be found anywhere.

He poses some good questions.

“Do patients covered by prescription plans get enough insulin bottles to abide by the manufacturers recommendations or do they calculate the number of bottles required by how many units the patient takes on a daily basis? Why can’t manufacturers make smaller bottles of insulin for those on smaller daily doses to reduce wastage?”

Be well

It’s kind of hard top put a specific time on when it expires. If you have it in the trunk of your car on a hot day it can go bad in a few hours. But if you have it out of the fridge from the beginning of purchase it may last 20-60 days. Instead of “time” think more of what the extreme or subtle temperature changes are throughout the time period.
Also it is not like one day it just expires and the insulin doesn’t work but it is more like it loses it potency as time and heat are a factor. If that happens you can always take a higher dosage but I would NOT recommend that just to be safe.

Thanks for your response Zoe! I was afraid that it might go bad and turn into something else… It was in the fridge that had not been opened and insulated… The bottle of soda inside was still cool… Not cold, but definately not room temp… Room temp down stairs is 62degrees… If it just loses its potency a bit then ok, but I didnt know if going “bad” could hurt you… I will make sure it is not cloudy looking like I always do anyway.

lol 75 units a day gets used up pretty quick… Not real sure how it got saved up… Am using it like Dr. prescribed…
Now I have a co - pay and I just got down to my last box of Humalog and had to re order that But thankfully I don’t need to order Lantus for a while. With the co pay I need to fork out another 1250.00 a year… There is no deductable for co pays… That is above and beyond my 2500.00 deductable for a single… Employer pays half of that huge deductable… UGH but now I am stuck with a 1250 co pay… There is no way governement will be able to take over health care… If that happens… Who knows what we will all be eating for dinner, Alpo or Fancy Feast…

WOW ! Ryan, thanks for doing all that research for me! After not getting any replies here right away, I ended up reading the same article about 77 degrees having only a minimal effect on potency…As I stated in another post, it is kinda a blessing in disguise that I was prescribed so much, because now I wont have to pay the co pay for a little while.This 1250 co pay with all my prescriptions for the first time has really got me scrambling! At least I know that the insulin will be safe to inject, and it only would lose its potency and not turn into poison if the temp raises… Someone who uses a pump has that insulin next to the skin for a few days… and that is nearly 90 degrees if not more… So thanks for your response and your words of advice Ryan, I appreciate your effort!

Thnks for your response Mikey! The temp change was not an extreme one… I am sure the fridge held onto its cold as long as it could… The pens were not cold but still a bit cool, the bottle of soda was a bit cooler than room temp so like you say if the temps were not extreme than I should be ok… I was just worried about it turning into a poison, rather than just losing its potency…

I realize that the Lantus is a huge expense, but stocking up on insulin a year and a half ahead of it’s anticipated need is pushing it. The Lantus expires in two years, and may have already sat in inventory for months when you get it. Even without your fridge crisis, you need to watch for your insulin going bad. If you see particles or the Lantus is cloudy, then it is bad.

I think they would be fine! I keep my opened lantus solostar at room temp so it doesn’t burn as badly. It will keep like that for 28/30 days my pharmasist told me. So I think you’ll be just fine!

Hmm. Did you really think our health care was going to be taken over by the government? The law passed to regulate the insurance companies and their refusal to cover us. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to get all political because clearly there are two sides to every issue! I hope your insulin is not damaged (I’m a pumper and not familiar with Lantus). Yikes, your deductible sounds very scary and I can see how throwing out that batch would be quite horrid. Good luck! I wish you the best.

It was not intentional… Was only following the prescribed amount for me… And the pens kept adding up.
Least I have a break for a bit in buying Lantus for a 50 dollar co-pay every 3 months… I will keep an eye on cloudyness. Thanks bsc.

Just love this site because i generally find the answer to my questions already asked. Craig1, our fridge started going out 2 days ago and silly me didn’t think about the 5 boxes of Novolog Flexpens I have stored (or rather hoarded). Thankfully I got the information I need, basically the insulin might degenerate more quickly when not stored properly. I think I’ll try it and if my BG levels are good keep using until I notice a difference. Thanks everyone!