Re-using insulin from an expired pod

I just switched from MDI to the Omnipod a few days ago. I noticed a previous thread talking a little about removing left over insulin from an expired pod and re-using it. How safe is this? Is the insulin efficacy the same? Is there greater infection risk? I’m quite insulin sensitive, so the minimum 85 unit fill volume is more than I use in 3 days. I don’t want to waste 10-20 units of insulin every time I change my pod!

I think the only time you can do this is if you haven’t actually had the pod on for the whole time. Sometimes it won’t prime - and that insulin is fine to use. Sometimes it will have a problem in the first 24 hours and I have heard people can still get that insulin out as well - but I don’t think there is any way to get those 10-20 units out and somehow combine it with more to get into another pod.
I struggle with the waste of insulin as well. My son is only 9 - and only uses about 15 units a day. His doctor wants us to change the pod every 2 days, which would mean wasting more like 55 units for every 30 units we use. We often wait the full three days - my son wants to wait (who wouldn’t) and I like getting another 15 units!

I too use <<85 units/ 3days. I have removed the insulin (drawn out via syringe) and put it into a new pod. I suck the insulin out of the pod, draw in enough air to make a total of a bit more than 85, push that air into the vial (while trying not to mix the insulin), draw up the new insulin, turn the syringe upside down, tap bubbles to the top, and fill the pod. I don’t want to mix the old insulin with the new insulin inside the bottle. Inside the syringe (and pod) won’t make too much of a difference because I don’t plan to take that insulin out again and remix it. One time of recycling is about all I do. Then I throw the rest away on that pod and begin the recycling again after the next pod. Does this make sense?

I completely understand what you’re saying. I was able to draw the extra insulin out of my old pod, but this was after I had thrown the syringe and old parts into a bag for recycling, so it wasn’t anywhere near sterile. I just wanted to see if I could do it. Very tempting to save the insulin, but I can see it going awry too…

I know wasting insulin seems like a crime. If you take the old insulin out of the pod each time and put it in a new pod, and the insulin mixes together, 3 days later you pull the insulin out of that pod and mix in a new pod… I would worry about the effectiveness of the insulin, not really being able to track how old it is. I don’t use 85 units in 3 days either, but I just leave the extra insulin in the pod. And, I have insulin left in the bottle after 30 days, which I toss. I just plan on using a bottle of Humalog a month, and don’t think about the waste.

I totally understand! I’m a newbie too and I feel ya! I so hate wasting that insulin… Cant’t wait to see what people say…

The only time I’ve taken insulin out of a pod is when it failed (hasn’t happened in a long time), or I hit a nerve or muscle by mistake. So…I take from a full pod and put it into a new one. If you are trying to get the last 10 unit out of a pod that you have used, I would just suggest that after a few changes, you just might want to put less in to begin with. After a while, the little insulin you get could start affecting the new insulin, and that just is not worth it.

I agree with Jon. The only time I have had any success in ‘retrieving’ insulin from a pod is when the pod either failed in the priming process or I’ve worn the pod for less than 12 hours. Each person has to make a personal decision and Yes, I know insulin is expensive, but the hassle you get from insulin that may or may not be good after a longer period of time just isn’t worth it. Your health is precious…take good care of it.

I only retrieve when I have a pod fail to prime (once) or occlude shortly after I put it on (3 or 4 times).

In a similar issue, I had a discussion with my CDE about crossing vials. I put 150 units in a pod and my humalog vials do not hold an even multiple of 150 units. She expressed concern about injecting air or insulin from the partially used bottle into the new bottle. I haven’t decided yet, but I might just toss vials that have less than 150 units. Even though I was brought up by frugal New Englanders, I would rather waste insulin than get sick using contaminated insulin.


Natasha, why does your doctor want you to change the pod more often than every three days?

I have taken insulin from a pod that has occluded or run into some other problem in the first day. After that, I think the insulin begins to break down from body heat, and I don’t try to re-use any beyond about 24 hours.

I’ve been thinking about this problem because I have the same issue with insulin per pod not dividing evenly into what’s in a vial. Here’s what I plan to do to to minimize contamination:

  1. Inject the required volume of air into the new vial.
  2. Inject the required volume of air into the old vial.
  3. Draw insulin from the new vial.
  4. Draw insulin from the old vial.

That way, the needle is in it’s most ‘pristine’ state when interacting with the new vial. Does require that you know the volumes involved at the outset.

This is the process one uses for mixing insulin in shots (what I used to do). It can be mixed in the syringe, but you don’t want to mix the different kinds IN the vial. Therefore there’s no cross-contamination. I think this is a good process to get all the insulin out of an old vial and start the new one without wasting.


Just like others have posted, The recommended in-use dating once an insulin vial has been punctured is 28 days. Unless you use more than one vial per month, it is not really worth saving insulin bc you have to replace the vial at the end of the month anyways. We have not drawn back insuling from a POD ever, but if needed, I will probably do it ONLY if the POD has not been used at all.

How is Santi doing? Just love your avatar picture, but then as a Grandma I always like cute kids :slight_smile:

Thank you for sharing these instructions. I’ve never had much luck withdrawing insulin plus I’ve never had experience ‘mixing’ insulins while on MDI, so I’m happy to learn proper protocol. In light of my experience from last Sunday where I lost 600 u Novolog because of 3 priming failures…I hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon but at least now I can attempt to retrieve if it does.

Oh gosh, 600 units! I would’ve been getting pretty livid by pod #3. In cases like that, do you think Insulet would replace not only the pod, but maybe a vial of insulin too?