Reusing insulin when changing infusion set

What do you all do with the insulin left in the canister when changing your infusion set? Is this something that you can reuse? Sometimes I have about 20 units or so and I feel like I’m wasting too much.

I usually wait until my cartridge is empty before changing infusion sets, even if it means leaving the set in longer than “scheduled” (but I only use sites for two or two and a half days, so leaving them in a little longer isn’t really that long). I’ve sometimes thought about sucking insulin out of the tubing to reuse, as there’s also about 20 units in there, but I don’t know if it would still be potent or sterile if I did that.

I tend to reuse the insulin if there is 20ish unites left, but I’m not sure if I should be doing it…

??? - I may be missing something. When I change the infusion set (the part that attaches to my body), I just prime enough insulin to fill the canula and keep going. I rarely change out the tubing unless it is damaged in some way.


The response will be a 2 part : 1 ) I aim at changing my Sure-T set every 48-50 hours ; most of the time, the time to change the reservoir does not coincide with changing the needle part as was the case today . My pump warns me ,when I have 20 units left …this happened before Lunch today . Presently 12 units are left and I will only replace the reservoir .
I fill my reservoir to about 1.6 ml .I will have some waste .
I use an average of 20 units a day and hope my record keeping is correct …lasted 11 days ? …wow … You probably could fill your reservoir with less ?

I can’t say that what I’m doing is 100% ‘correct’ per the insulin manufacturers suggestions, but what I do is take the old tubing off of the cannula, add the needled to the cannula and inject any extra insulin into the bottle. I figure that if it is working well enough while away from the bottle in the cannula while in the pump then it is fine to inject it back and not waste 20 some units of insulin. :-/

Like Nel, infusion set changes and cartridge/tubing changes rarely coincide for us. I change my daughters infusion sets on a 3 day schedule and the cartridge and tubing when the cartridge is near empty. Makes for very little insulin waste.

I have to do some more " research " …tonight out for dinner, poked my finger and had a BG of 10 ( x 18 ) ??? …was my aged reservoir of 11 days the culprit or …?
I use Apidra insulin and do change to a new the vial every 28 days …cannot avoid waste .

I do the same as Nel and Karen. I change my infusion set and my cartridge totally independently. I change my Sure-T every 2 days and my reservoir about every 10 days. I do throw away the last 15 or so units of insulin because I heard that the Minimed pump delivered less accurately then (but I’m not sure if that’s true).

I just thought it was a package deal, that everything had to be changed out after 3 days.

That’s what I was taught too, but because of all the wasted insulin I tried not changing together and have been doing that for 5 years now. You just need to make sure that when you change the infusion set and not the reservoir that you fill the cannula with enough insulin. This will vary from the type of infusion set you use. I just fill the cannula before inserting it and then do the additional filling the cannula after inserted as usual.

What infusion set do you use?

I am using the Animas Inset (6mm) which take .3u to fill the canula.

Thanks for all of the emails, its good to know I don’t have to waste so much.

i recycle everything - reservoirs, tubing and i use each site for 7 days on average. sometimes a reservoir will be near empty and i simply refill to full, adding new insulin with whatever is left. i have never had a problem and my numbers have been fantastic for years.

I used to use Quick Set (6mm), which I think is the same, and I think that I figured that I needed about 0.7u to fill the cannula when I inserted without changing the reservoir. The reason that it is different if that when you change the reservoir, then you fill all the plastic parts with insulin and just have the fill the cannula. Without changing the reservoir, there will be a bit more to fill.

I tested once to figure it out by using water with food coloring. :slight_smile:

I discard the insulin left in my reservoir with a routine site change. In an unplanned set change, I just keep using what’s in there until the enxt set change.

i reuse it. i squirt it back into the vial it came out of. i never squirt it into a new vial. i wish there were a way to get the 10 units or so that are wasted in the tubing.

You can draw it back into the reservoir using the plunger if you remove the reservoir from the pump. I used to do this.

When we started pumping we only filled the cartridge about half full so that it was almost empty when it was site change time. then we decided to fill the cartridge all the way with 300 units and change it when it was empty. we do a site change every 3 days and change the tube and cartridge as a set when it is almost empty. Works great for us.Very little waste and far less cartridges to buy. Some people even refill their cartridges and reuse them, I don’t think that is a good idea but you have to do what ever it takes.

I reuse the cartridges until the #s wear off. I suck the insulin that’s in the tubing back into the cartridge as a part of pulling in air to inject into the bottle before sucking new insulin into the cartridge.
Insulin is full of buffers and has more “stuff” in it than insulin, it could go bad, but it’s prepared for yahoo’s like me to protect against sterility issues. Nothing that we do is sterile. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Is it suggested by Minimed, definitely not.

I prime the new set I just push it through and keep going. yes it is a waste of insulin, but better to waste the insulin then reusing the tubing and cartridge. I do think sterile is underrated.

rick phillips