12-03-2011 06:10 PM
I have heard of people doing it.
Of course the manufacturer will tell you not to, but the insulin in the pen will not self-destruct at exactly 28 days. It's sort of like the capacity number in an elevator, or the weight limit on a bridge. It has a built in safety factor so that it won't fail before it is expected to. It will gradually lose effectiveness, and how long it really lasts will depend to some extent on whether on not it has been exposed to higher temperatures.
Others have reported that they do go past 28 days as long as the insulin stays effective. I recall some saying that if its effectiveness begins to taper off they may take just a little bit more.
Having said all that, I'm not recommending it. You have to weigh your alternatives. Going without is not an option.
12-03-2011 06:41 PM
12-04-2011 12:14 PM
Please be careful by testing often to see if you are getting the full benefit of your insulin... I too tried to get "a few more days" out of each vial because of cost and didn't like to see waste. Then I found myself in DKA...NOT FUN! It can happen so fast. My doctor helped me get on assistance with Novo dsk (people who manufactor the insulin I use-novalog and levemir) and I now use a pen.. No waste and help with cost. I only use about 25-30 units a day of combined insulin so pens were the way for me to go. Hope this helps. Have a Merry Christmas DKA free!
12-04-2011 12:56 PM
12-05-2011 10:39 AM - edited 12-05-2011 10:40 AM
There are three major things which contribute to insulin going bad.
If you want to protect your insulin, keep it in the fridge for storage, keep it out of light and never reuse needles or syringes. This gives you the best chance of extended life.
I must warn you that modern insulin's are still quite fragile. It was only in 2009 that the FDA approved extending the life of Novolog for pump use from 2 to 6 days and even then the FDA made them put on language saying that if the insulin got warmer than 98.6 deg F you needed to throw it out (like you have a temperature). Novo Nordisk was unable to present data suggesting that Novolog was stable for longer at those higher temperatures. So you can understand how storage at room temperature starts to risk degrading the insulin.
Even if you do these three things, it doesn't mean that your insulin will be good after 28 days, it just maximizes your chances.
12-05-2011 12:01 PM
I'll be the bad diabetic... I use my vials and pens till they are empty. I never change the needle on my pens. I put the first one on and it stays on till the end. Does it get dull? Sure. Do I care? Not really. Vials I open and use till it is gone as well and generally use needles until the numbers start to wear off. I also don't put them back in the fridge after they are opened. They stay in my little kit and that's it.
Now I dont know for sure how long they have lasted because I don't keep track. I keep track of my bs numbers and work off that. I guess I haven't noticed anything off with regards of my insulin "going bad".
I'm going to guess since I don't feel like doing the math, but I would guess I blow thru the pens and vials of levemir well within the 28 days and the humalog may be closer to that date.
12-05-2011 02:46 PM
Generally for me, I'll have 2 pens going, one for work, one for home. I have used my pens past the 28 days many times. I don't even think about it., not until I notice a drop off in potency (which I have only noticed twice). When I have noticed a drop off in potency, its nothing drastic, more like, I'll start to run a little higher after meals I am familiar with. At that point I will change the pen. I'd say the longest I have ever used a pen would be about 5 weeks. Moreover, I don't refrigerate them once I take them out of the fridge. As Harley said, I'm probably a bad diabetic.
PS. I am using Apidra. My Levemir, I have never taken past 15 days.
12-05-2011 04:24 PM
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