Frozen insulin

I accidentally placed a brand new box of humolog pens in the freezer!
I know the insulin “should” not be used, but I’m wondering if anyone has had this happen before & used the insulin anyway. If so, any problems?
Ideally, I’m hoping to b able to use the insulin since I just got this box of pens this wk & doubt that my insurance or pharmacy will replace it free of charge. I only hve a few units of insulin left in the current pen that I’m using.

I've had something like that happen to me b/f but it was my frige that decided to turn into my freezer and froze everything in it. OK I wouldn't use my insulin after it was frozen I know what ur talking about with the insurance thingy but would it really hurt to call them and ask them? LOL! That's what I'd do

Hi silver. I'm pretty sure that both frozen and overheated insulin is useless. Sometimes doctors keep samples of insulin, maybe you could get a sample, even if it's a vial, to tide you over.

As a side note, I keep my insulin vials and pens in one of my two vegetable bins at the bottom of my fridge. With the freezer on the top of my fridge, I'm unlikely to make that mistake. (I need every safeguard I can think of to prevent mistakes, like mixing up Apidra and Levemir.)

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I had my insulin frozen while on a cruise last year. It was not frozen solid, but the package it was in was frozen. I found my Humalog was almost completely degraded. At dosages up to 5 times normal levels it still did a poor job of lowering my blood sugar. I had to just swallow the loss and thrown the pens out.

Thanks for the replies. For now it seems that I’m going to have to try the thawed out insulin. I called the pharmacy & they checked if insurance would approve a refill, but it’s too soon since I just got the new box a couple of days ago. So I tried to call my insurance directly, but the office is closed till Monday. I can buy a new box for $400+! One pen costliest $86, but the manager has to approve the sale of one pen & he won’t b in till Monday! My CDE might have samples, but she’s also out till Monday! Uggggghhhhh! Freezing my insulin was bad enough, but freezing it on a Friday nite was the icing on the cake!


If worst comes to worst, Regular vials at Walmart are less expensive. That is, if worst comes to worst. It isn't Humalog, but it will keep you alive with some adjustments in timing. For instance, take it about a half hour before a meal, try not to eat anything that will spike. Good luck!

Yes I'd definately call Monday and speak to your insurance directly. Maybe if u do have to eat the costs...vials are a bit cheaper than pens, that might be something to consider, but I would definately not advising using insulin that has been frozen..extreme temperatures really cause insulin to degrade. Good luck, hope it all works out. As others have suggested Regular is considerably cheaper, and with some adjustment, might tied you over until your insurance will pay for your Humalog again.

I had a similar incident last week where my mom picked up my script and left it in her car not knowing it had to be refrigerated and just trying to hp me out. I called the pharmacy and explained what happens cause its a three moth supply of Novolog. They told me to bring it back. They returned it and gave me fresh insulin. The tech said its not a big deal. She said they just return it to the pharmaceutical company and it’s replaced. That way no one has to pay.

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Wow that was nice! Why can’t all pharmacies b created equal! Ha! I asked the pharmacy to replace mine but they said no. I’ll try calling again on Monday when the manager is there (assuming my insurance also says no to replacing my damaged one).

So I started using the thawed insulin last night. Turns out its been working great! Not sure if all 5 pens will work as well so I called pharmacy & insurance anyway, but was told I had to buy new insulin or wait (yeah, right!) a few weeks. For now though, things r working out ok!

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Sounds like you have everything taken care of now. If it is still working it probably didn't freeze.

Personally I'm one of the cheaper people on earth, and I don't have insurance. I always have an extra vial of something that can get me through my occasional disasters. A thousand units of R is about $65 at my pharmacy.

Anyway, even if it's a short story, it's nice when it has a happy ending.

best wishes

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When I realized what I did I opened the box & looked at one pen. It was definitely frozen. The tip where u put the needle in was even bulging out. I’m not sure if all 5 pens were frozen because I only looked at one, but I assumed they all froze evenly. Anyhow, the pen I started using has definitely been working. Maybe luck was just on my side. :slight_smile:

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Even though your insulin may initially be working, be aware that insulin typically fails through degraded power and shorter life. It may work today, just be alert that it may not work tomorrow. If it turns out fine, then do a happy dance, I was not so lucky.

Thanks for the warning! I’m definitely testing often. I keep thinking that my insulin will suddenly stop working or that one of the other pens won’t work as well as this one has. With that said, I went back to the pharmacy today & thought i’d test my luck again & ask that my box be replaced. I got a “no” again, but they agreed to contact my insurance & explain the situation to c if insurance will pay for a new box sooner than usual (last time pharmacy told me to call insurance myself which I did, but was denied). Maybe the pharmacy will b more convincing than I was.

Sorry u weren’t as lucky I havens with ur insulin.

I used frozen insulin (Lantus and Humalog), and found the following:
1. Nausea
2. Stomach Cramps
3. Headache
4. Increased Glucose (even hours after the last shot)

The Lantus seemed to cause the worst symptoms, but it could be that it froze quicker (I saw some ice in it) but the Humalog did not appear to be frozen (no ice seen). The Humalog worked sort of, had to take almost double what I usually use, and hours later the Glucose would rise. 250 points over night was not uncommon.

Just don’t use frozen insulin.

My 3m supply of insulin was mistakenly mailed to me. Long story, the mail order pharm messed up. It's been 'on the road' since 1/6. I don't feel safe using it. Are there any signs that it's actually been frozen? Cloudiness? Thickness?

Here's an article that talks about some signs your insulin may have been frozen:

Thanks Kelly! Just what I needed ;)