Question about humalog vial

Hi all, I just got a vial back from the pharmacy, and they only gave me one bottle. I start soon on the omnipod system so went from cartridge to vial.
not sure how to calculate how many units are in one 100u/ml vial? I know the pod holds 200 units of insulin so just want to make sure I have enough for my start date. if you can help me to find out how much insulin I will need for start day and for the month would be greatly appreciated. Canadian units here.

Thanks in advance


100u/mL and If you check the outside of the vial or box I believe it's 10mL, so 1000u. I usually can make a vial last 3-4 pods, if that helps, however I am on a 48hr switch because I use a lot more insulin than most!

1 10 mL vial holds 1000 units. 100 u/ml x 10 mL = 1000.

When is your start date? Are you trying to use insulin from said vial via syringe between now and start date? I'm not quite following on how/why you need to calculate the vial situation.

How many units of quick acting and long term insulin do you use a day? For example you average 10 u per meal and you take 25 u of lantus (or levemir?) per day. That's a total of 55 u per day. A pod last 80 hours. So in a 3 day period you are using approx 165 u per you won't need to fill to the 200 line, because you'll waste insulin.

You may also want to think about the occasional pod that fails or does not make it to the 72 or 80 hour mark for some reason...that insulin would be gone too (if you've worn it for almost 2 of the 3 days, for example, you're burning about 60-75 u of insulin probably)

I would try to have your physician rewrite your Rx to get more than 1 vial at a time if you are worried about running out...and probably keep any extra pens around as a back-up in case of a pump failure.

I definitely agree that you might need to have your Rx rewritten-if only for the rare
accidents like breaking a bottle, or a vial that appears cloudy, etc, or having been exposed to extreme heat, or the lost vial. And, accidents seem to want to happen only after the doctor's office has closed. The newer insulins require a Rx here I believe. Way too much stress! It's stressful enough to start on a new medical regimen without having to worry about running out of insulin.

I agree with annecy that you should always have at least one vial of insulin as a back-up. I get three at a time because I only take about 28 units a day, so a vial lasts me a whole month. But once I open that last vial of insulin, I order my next three month supply so I always have at least one in reserve.

Bradford is right that by calculating what you need to take now will pretty evenly transfer to what you will need from the Pod each day. Take your daily needs times three to figure out how much you need to put in the Pod. I generally add about 15 units more to each Pod just for those unexpected treats or pasta dinners that require more than "normal." Don't worry. You will be working, I assume, with a trainer who will help you get the right amount in the Pod, and you soon will be a pro. Do, however, get an RX for an extra back-up vial, and welcome to the world of OmniPod.

This won't help you, given that your prescription has already been changed to a vial, but when I changed to the Omnipod I continued with insulin pens for the insulin supply. They have significant advantages over vials:

1) The insulin is supposed to be at room temperature when loaded into the pod. I just keep an insulin pen out of the 'fridge. With a vial you either keep it out of the 'fridge all the time or remember to warm it up plenty of time before the pod change (maybe set the pod change alarm appropriately?)

2) Because I have multiple insulin pens my wife always carries a pen and a pod and some alcohol swabs - if a pod fails I can do a pod change immediately. (My wife does this because she always has a big handbag with her - it carries the PDM too.)

3) If everything goes wrong (e.g. a lost PDM) I have an insulin pen and (in the handbag) pen needles so I can bolus myself. I've done this once - when the magic handbag didn't have the PDM and we were going to a restaurant. I admit I had to go to Walgreens and buy pen needles and a BG meter, but I don't need a prescription for those, and the BG meter was free (after the mail in rebate).

4) (Maybe.) The pen can deliver insulin to the pod much more accurately than that syringe. I dial a dose into the pen, stick the pod needle into the pen, and inject the syringe (or reverse-inject it). That's not really an advantage to me; after learning what I need in the pod I've ended up using exactly half a pen every time, but that's a coincidence - it just so happens I need 158IU in each pod.

5) The pen contains much less insulin than a vial (3ml as opposed to 10ml). It lasts me 6 days (exactly ;-) and I don't have to worry about storage. If I used a vial it would last me 6 pod changes - 18 days - I would keep it in the 'fridge all the time (whatever Insulet may say it was 100F outside today and we don't use a/c; the house got to 81F). Much worse than that, my insurance company is a one-month-supply guy and two vials in the 'fridge would, quite frankly, give me intestinal retention problems. [So there would be six vials in the 'fridge ;-)]

John Bowler

You have to get enough insulin to cover pod failures - whether from occlusion, error, knock it off, etc. We plan our insulin and pods to cover for a change every two days although most of the time we get three.

I do the same. It isn't permitted to say 2.75 days (which is about my pod usage) so I round down to "2". I started out asking my doctor for one pod every 2 days and I've seen no need to change this - I simply delay the 3 month resupply order until I only have xxx pods left ;-)

John Bowler

Wow wonderful replies, thank you. as to answer some of the questions, I would use a syringe for my lantus 30 units night 20 morning and use a humalog pen, I liked this way since I could tell the difference between them. I have two boxes left of the humalog but got it switched to the vial. The pharmacist was trying to work out how much I needed and that is how I only got the one vial, I thought this was at least good for start day. I can go and get more when needed. I was supposed to have started on the pump this week but administration delays have occurred. grrrrr. The Endo's don't like that I am 4-6 hours away from them and do not understand why I go that far to see them. well where I live it is very limited in diabetes care and although they try they are still in the dark ages. very hard to see the pump and still taking needles. but it is getting closer now, end of month hoping the Endo put's the orders in and then I am off and running. woohooo

I have a alternate viewpoint to offer: if you have severe insulin resistance as I do, and have to change pods earlier than 72hours or at 79.5 hours, (I stretch my use to 79.5 hours even if causes changes when I would rather sleep) consider switching to the more concentrated (5x) HumulinR-500. Every 1 unit of it equals 5 units of Humalog, Humulin 100, or other insulins usually used in the pod. You may not need all the minimum amount for each fill, but it's a delicate balance between paying more for insulin vs. paying for more pods. The insulin lasts me almost two months with no problems(verified the my endo) and I fill the minimum of 85 and only use less than 19units a day with a balance to cover exceptional circumstance as being ill, or using steriods. My insurance covers 1 box a month and 80% of the insulin so more pods would cost much more than the insulin.

I have a really good family medicine doctor; the *nearest* endos are 1-2 hours away from me and, quite frankly, the only guy I saw was well on his way to type 2 diabetes.

In my whole life (diabetic since 12, now 53) I've had one good diabetic specialist. He was type 1 (juvenile onset as we used to say.)

My 1cent, for what it's worth; US family doctors can be really, really, good, and they work with you. Ditch the endos. (My wife points out that the family doctors can be really, really bad too, take care out there.)

John Bowler

jbowler, I have a good family doctor but knows nothing about insulin or diabetes that much. I go to the Brampton clinic 4h away since my sister lives there and these people are amazing. the problem occured when the Endo I saw was on leave and another Endo took her place, she signed the ADP form but then refused to give the orders for the initial settings on the pump since I do not live in town (this was the excuse I heard). When I went to make an appt with the Endo that I was supposed to see but since I only had seen her at the clinic and not her office, I had to get another referral to go see her in order for her to right the orders. So here I am with a PDM and the pods etc.... waiting till end of month to get the orders changed then I am unsure when my start date will be. was supposed to be on July 15th. Oh Well but it is worth the trip to see her since this town is really in the dark ages. shame really with 156,000 people you would think the town is big enough to have some new doctors in town.

I have 3 prescriptions, one for Humalog, one for Apidra pens & one for Lantus pens. I travel about 4 times a year & when I'm going to be away from home I always take the pens to cover an Omnipod emergency. If I'm overseas & happen to break lose or have my PDM stolen, I can carryon with the pens til I get home.

How come only 3-4? Where’s the rest of the insulin going. I get 5 full pods per vial.


T1 59 years

MY start date was supposed to be June 15th and I am still not on the pump, I have the pump and the pods but it is an administration problem. I see Endo on July 30th but Omnipod said they were going to send me the orders for her to sign since she was going away on holidays, I still have not gotten them. I am flying blind on this one. I have changed my insulin, test strips and even my medicalert with a new watch saying insulin pump on it. what a mess. I was concerned that having only one bottle I would not have enough. I take now 19units morning, 20 evening of lantus then about 10u per day to cover food. I used to take 20morning and 30 evening but since I had surgery on my thumb my sugars have been dropping so huge change with me lantus evening but the Endo does not know this yet so that is not the hang up. I am sooooo frustrated. grrr

I was more worried about my insurance company denying me more insulin but I think it will be fine.

the pharmacist I go to are very helpful and do their best.

Thanks SherryAnne, I am trying to get to the Omnipod world. as for training yes the Omnipod trainers were going to, not sure what is happening now. hopefully I will find out today what the heck is going on. find it even harder having the pump and pods and everything to start but still taking needles. but well I am sure once it is all done I will forget how hard it was to get the paper work done.

very helpful thank you

Hi Budababe I am not even sure if you can get the 500 here. I don't believe I am insulin resistant in fact I have had to lower my insulin regiment for all of a sudden having many lows. been on 20day and 30 evening for couple of years now I have surgery and bang, 19 morning and 20 evening. and my sugars are even better then they have been. although my A1C's are good they don't like my last one as to them it shows to many lows. they just love to burst the happy bubble. LOL

I still have my lantus, probably will keep that just in case the pod's fail. thank for the advice.