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Insulin is a medication used in diabetes treatment. Like many other medications, there are considerations to remember in the storage and management of insulin in order to keep it usable, and decrease the risk for side effects and other potential problems.
Here are some keys to managing your insulin to get the best results:
1. Take it at the same time each day - Your
body learns to regulate itself around
your insulin-administration times, and
will do so more effectively, if it knows
when the next does will be
2. Replace your insulin vial every 30 days,
if you store it at room temperature -
Insulin expires 30 days after opening,
if left at room temperature.
3. Keep back-up insulin supplies in the
fridge - Your insulin will keep until
the labelled expiration date, if the
vial is sealed and stored in the
fridge. Once opened, the vial is
generally good for 90 days - usually
more than enough time to use it up - as
long as you keep it in the fridge
4. Mix your insulin - If you are using NPH
or mixed insulin, such as 70/30 or
75/25, roll the vial in your palms
to warm and mix it before your draw it
up for administration. This will ensure
uniform consistency and proper
concentration of your mix. Do not shake
the insulin, as you will add bubbles to
the mixture and may cause some breakdown
of the insulin.
5. Toss insulin that has changed color
or developed sediment - sediment or
color change can indicate a contaminant
or that the insulin has gone beyond its
expiration date. Using discolored or
sedimented insulin can be harmful.
6. Draw clear to cloudy - If you use both
regular and NPH insulin, always draw the
clear insulin first (the regular). If
you draw the cloudy insulin first, you
may inadvertantly get some into the
clear vial, which will then become
cloudy, ruining your regular insulin.
7. Don't mix Lantus - Lantus insulin does
not mix with anything. If you are
receiving regular or NPH insulin, and
Lantus, they must be given in separate
injections, or sedimentation will occur.
Do not ever use insulin with sediment.
8. Keep a log - Track your blood sugars and
insulin usage so that you can trend the
results. This information will help you
and your doctor determine the correct
dosage and dosing schedule to provide
optimal control of your blood sugars.
9. Follow doctor's order - Do not self-
adjust your insulin dosage unless you
have experience and the go-ahead from
your physician. Results can be
disastrous, including hypoglycemia,
ketoacidosis and coma.
Managing your insulin effectively will help you better manage your diabetes, and reduce the risk for side effects and complications.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|