Wasting insulin when changing infusion sets

This might get chalked up under the “duh, why didnt I think of that” category, but here goes.

There are about 10-12 units of insulin in my tubing. When I change infusion sets, this gets thrown away. Im just wondering if there is a way to purge the insulin out so it can be used instead of being thrown away. If I do the math, it seems like 80 units a month gets wasted.

There is no requirement to change the reservor at the same time you change your site. Change the site. Use up the insulin, then cange the reservor. I rarely change both at same time - so a sto not waste the insulin.

I use my insulin in the tube down to the very last drop and get as much out of it as if everything were just filled up.
Btw, they do sell infusion set boxes with two sites and one tube, for just such a purpose.

I always let my cartridge run down to at least 5 units. There’s an alarm when it gets down to 10 so then I know when it’s getting low. If it gets to be more than 5 units left I just put the insulin back in the bottle using the disposable needle to fill the cartridge. If you seem to be wasting insulin, just fill the cartridge minus 10 units.

I agree. I used to change my reservoir every 6 days - or every 2 set changes.

Now that I’m podding, I get down to my last 5 units before changing it. (Below 5 units, the reservoir reads “low” and I can’t be positive there’s enough left for a decent bolus.)

I used to wonder about this myself. The question is not what’s in the reservoir. Assuming the reservoir is empty, there are still about 10-12 units in the tubing according to the OP.

A 10ml vial has 1000 units. If I go through one vial a month, how much effort am I willing to spend to preserve 8% of it?

Not much.

On the other hand, it IS one vial of insulin a year. If I didn’t have insurance, I’d be searching for ways to save it myself.

By changing your reservoir instead of your tube you’ll cut the waste in half. You might save more insulin by getting a shorter tube. Or even by using a pod. On the other hand, if the pod fails, all the insulin in it is wasted.


Good points on all counts, Terry. (Of course, I refuse to throw out that much insulin, so I draw the insulin back out of pods and use it in a new one against their suggestions.)

I have a system for this. First of all, I very rarely change the reservoir and the set at the same time. When I change my reservoir on my Minimed 722 (every 10 days!), I remove the reservoir with the tubing still attached. Then I use the plunger to pull back the movable part of the reservoir, which “sucks” the insulin back from the tube. I then put the insulin into an empty vial. The amount is usually 10-25 units of insulin.

What I do with this insulin depends on many factors. Here are my options:
(1) Carry it with my as “back up insulin” (which usually means it gets thrown out about a month later)
(2) Put it back in the fridge and collect a couple of these and after a few months fill my pump with “used” insulin
(3) Fill my pump with mostly new insulin then add this little bit (I do not like this option as I try not to mix “used” and new insulin).

I have never had a problem with insulin going bad, but I don’t live in an extremely warm climate. If I carry the insulin around in my pump for 10 days, it still has about 3 weeks where it should be fine at room temperature.

This is the system that works for me. I know it comes with some risk of “spoiled” insulin. So be careful.

Wow, I’ve never worried about this at all…I do change reservoir and set at different times since I only use maybe 20units in a day.

This is similiar to what Dave suggested. I have the Minimed and when I want to change a set, I recycle the remaining 10-15 or whatever units by taking a new resevoir, removing the blue top piece and the plunger, putting those 2 pieces on the remaining 10-15 units I have in the little clear plastic vial and putting those remaining units back in the vial you buy from the pharm. Its just like loading insulin into a new vial except vice versa. No waist, more bang for your buck.

I only change the inset every two days, and wait for the cartridge to empty if I can.
But having said that, I have noticed that during the last 10 units left in the cartridge, my blood sugars tend to spike.
So I’m wondering if it’s pumping the same when it gets so low.
Anyone else have this problem?

I never seem to change my infusion set and cartridge at the same time. As a consequence, the only time i change the tubing is when the two changes coincide. When i change the cartridge, I just use the already primed tubing that’s attached to the infusion set, and when i change the infusion set, I just use the already primed tubing that’s attached to the cartridge. I have a whole box of unused tubing I’m saving for…whatever. I just seems a shame to throw them out.

I was reusing the already primed tubing for my son’s cartridge changes UNTIL, his tubing ripped open when he was sleeping and his numbers were terrible. I changed his site, and checked his reservoir but didn’t think to look at the tubing; He is 15 and very active so that is probably why I should not have reused that tubing. I had only used it 3 days before I changed it over to the new reservoir. ANyway, I don’t do that anymore but he goes through insulin like it is water right now - Ratio 1:5 and he eats like a horse and is growing quickly !! One bottle barely lasts him for 1 week ! ! I guess that is puberty. I assume that his insulin needs will decrease as his growth slows down. nancy

me too!

I use the 23 inch tubing, so i only waste about 6 units when i throw out the tubing, plus i use the last 10 units left in the reservoir when the pump says its empty