Re-using a reservoir

I’m using the Minimed Paradigm 722 and for reasons I’ll get to in a moment I’m considering re-using some of the reservoirs until I can get my order filled. Does anyone know of any good reasons why I shouldn’t?

Ok, here’s the why:

My doctor is a moron. Last year he referred me to a new endo. The endo gave me a script for the pump and supplies.
Fast forward to now. Minimed called me to say my Rx for the supplies (infusion sets and reservoirs) has expired. They called my endo to have it filled again but he refused because he hasn’t seen me in a few months. So Minimed wants me to fix this; fine.

I call the endo’s office and they tell me the same thing. They want me to make an appointment before he will refill the script. I asked for an appointment and they said not without a referral from my GP . . . why? because I haven’t seen him in a few months (I know how silly this sounds, but for an explanation you’d have to ask them because I have no clue). So I call my GP and ask for the referral. They say no because I haven’t been to their office in 2 months. I go to see him for the referral and I get it, BUT the endo can’t see me for a minimum of 3 months (yes, I begged and tried to explain I don’t have that kind of time, but they said it’s absolutely impossible to get in sooner because they have a severe shortage of endos right now.) So I call my GP again and ask him to write the Rx instead. He denies me because he doesn’t understand what it’s for. I explain in detail and he insists that he’s not comfortable writing an Rx for something he doesn’t understand well enough. The only way he’ll do it is if my endo faxes him the original Rx and gives him a specific explanation as to why I need this. So I call the endo again. They refuse me and ask that I wait until my appointment. I explain AGAIN, beg AGAIN, plead AGAIN, but they are adamant.

So Endo says no, GP says no, and I only have two weeks worth of supplies. I finally found an opening with another local doctor who specializes in diabetes and is finally accepting new patients. He has no problem writing prescriptions for pump supplies, but he can’t see me until two weeks from now (and of course he won’t write the Rx without seeing me first–but in his case it’s understandable). By the time I see him and get the Rx I won’t have enough time to get the new shipment. Event with an overnight delivery (assuming I don’t run into any more roadblocks) I’d still have to re-use at least one reservoir.

So what’s the problem with it? Why is this a bad idea? I’m assuming the only real danger would be mixing new and old insulin. But if I rinse the old reservoir out with water that should minimize the risk. Any ideas, or thoughts?

i reuse reservoirs every time, sometimes i refill a reservoir twice before tossing. never had a problem and my numbers have always been good. i consider the ``use once and discard’’ edict an urban myth that’s been effectively propagated by marketing departments. i also keep insertions in place for 7 days and reuse tubing.
hospitals do it all the time and the FDA approves. here’s a 2005 story from the Washington Post:

A growing number of U.S. hospitals, including at least eight in the Washington area, are saving money by reusing medical devices designated for one-time use, ignoring the warnings of manufacturers, which will not vouch for the safety of their reconditioned products.Hospitals are not required to tell patients that reconditioned devices will be used in surgery – surgeons themselves often do not know. The Food and Drug Administration regulates the practice, and many hospital administrators say reusing single-use devices is not only cost effective but also poses no threat to patients because the instruments are cleaned with such care that they are as good as new.’’

so … if it’s good enough for hospitals and the FDA it’s more than good enough for me. as long as you monitor your BG and things remain stable there’s no reason to change.

I’ve done this before. (I was living abroad, and one of my suitcases got lost. Unfortunately, that was the suitcase with all my pump supplies. So I kept reusing reservoirs until my emergency supply got there (which took a while)). Anyway, I didn’t experience many problems. The bit stuck into my skin got very slightly irritated at one point and kept wanting to fall off (and China doesn’t have duct tape, at least that I could find). But I wore that one for about 2 weeks, and it doesn’t sound like you need to do that. One thing I did though was give as many shots as I could with syringes and just use the pump for basal, that stretches out how long you can use your supplies.

I haven’t reused a reservoir, but I’ve never really had to.

I’d think twice about rinsing the old one with water, unless you use distilled water. I would think you’re more likely to contaminate it that way. And what if you don’t get all the water out? If I were doing it I’d just refill it after using as much of the old insulin as possible. I might even push the old insulin out to have as little of it left as possible.

I’m lucky enough to have good insurance and a good back supply of reservoirs (but for the 522, or I’d offer to send you some.)

Good luck,


Thanks, but considering the above I think I’ll just re-use for a while until my situation clears up. Fortunately I have plenty of infusion sets because they somehow sent me extra during the whole LOT 8 recall situation.

Ok, so no water, just push out the old insulin and make sure I don’t leave any in there before re-using.

Thanks guys.

not to belabor this … but i will occasionally mix old and new. i’ve never had a problem. for example, if i’m leaving for work and i have 4 units left in the reservoir, i’ll simply refill it. in the process i return the old to the vial when adding air. i use each reservoir for about a week and i’ve never had a problem. like so many other D-related things, you should do what you’re comfortable doing. i’m have no interest in starting a movement; i’m just passing along what’s worked very well for me during my 12 years pumping.

For a while I was unsure if my new fabulous (not) UnitedHealthCare insurance would cover my reservoirs, so I was using all of them at least 2 times. I would just fill them for 6-7days of use but I use very little insulin, so had no problem doing that w/ my 522. If you can’t, then I wouldn’t even worry about hte old insulin, unless you are getting near the expiration date. I was using 7 day old insulin and I had no problems.
I haven’t been reusing much since they do cover my reservoirs, but they don’t cover my insulin again until August. Wish I could reuse that :-)!

I can’t see where it would hurt… i’d actually skip out on the water idea though, because that might contaminate the insulin… i’d say just fill er up and go :slight_smile:

I reuse mine until the numbers wear off. Now idea how long that takes, that’s just what I use as a reminder to use a new one. I’d guess they get reused 6-10 times. I try not to open it up totally, so I’m pulling up more-or-less sterile insulin and try to avoid letting any air in - in other words I would NOT rinse the reservoir.
Been doing this for going on 15 years without a problem.
Your problems with the doc and endo are unfortunately completely believable and within specs for the type of stuff they’ve put me through. I try to tell them that I know more about me and my diabetes than they do, to no avail.
Good luck.

I will use a reservoir 2x and then trash it. But lately I’ve had issues with refilling some of them for some reason, the whole vacuum thing. I don’t have any problems doing it, saves me some cash. I wish I’d thought of it earlier! Oh, and I don’t rinse it. I’ll flush out the old insulin and put new in. I leave the screw in plunger part and the needle thingee in my insulin box.

I’ve reused mine several times and have more problems when I use a new one than reusing the old one. Good luck!

Managed to see the doc faster than expected. He called it in for me and I’m getting my supplies on Tuesday . . . finally a doctor who knows how to treat a patient. The bad news is that he told me I have the lungs of a 50-year-old . . . awesome!