Insulin out of the fridge

7 posts, 3 contributors

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Alan 49 DAFNE Graduate
Maidstone General Hospital
284 posts

I always get my prescriptions dispensed at the local Lloyd's Pharmacy. Because of my mobility problems, they now deliver the prescriptions to me at home. The last time I had insulin prescribed it came in a large paper bag along with all my other tablets. I had forgotten that I had requested insulin (memory problems as well!) and I left the bag unopened for a couple of days. When I opened the bag I immediately put the insulin in the fridge.

My first question is - will that insulin be OK to use?

Secondly, would I have been able to refuse that Insulin, on the grounds that it should have been refridgerated?

mstarosta DAFNE HCP
Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania
5 posts

Hi Alan, I would think that your insulin should be ok to use, I am not sure where you live but generally if it has been <25°c, if it has been at the ambient temp for a short time, it should be fine. You can contact the manufacturers to check, there should be a contact number on the packaging. Assuming that you are a DAFNE graduate, you are probably using QA & BI? If your BI is cloudy, make sure that it "mixes" evenly, no "flakes" or residue should be visible. Check your BGLs regularly of course, & if you note any unexplained above target BGLS, or they are higher generally without any other possible causes, change your insulin. Regarding the pharmacy, I am not sure whether they should ensure refrigeration for home delivery - but it is not dispensed in "cold packs" in Australia. Of course you don't know how long it has been out of the fridge if they were doing other deliveries though. I would still talk to your Pharmacist. Good luck.

Alan 49 DAFNE Graduate
Maidstone General Hospital
284 posts

Thanks Mstarosta, but had to go to ny GP (my doctor) on another matter and I told her about this. She was of the opinion 'better safe than sorry' and told me to ditch the insulin and she prescribed a replacement. I did feel rather guilty scrapping 3 boxes of Humalog -
I've no idea how much that cost the NHS. When I used to go to the pharmacy myself to collect a prescription, the insulin was always packaged separately and kept in the fridge and there was a sticker on the bag containing pills etc to indicate that part of the prescription was in the fridge. I will speak to the pharmacy as you suggest, to make sure they know that insulin should be kept in the fridge.I would have thought that any pharmacist should have already known this.

I want to know if it would be within my rights to reject any insulin which had not been refridgerated.

AMcD DAFNE Graduate
University College Hospital, Galway
38 posts

The official line is that insulin will remain effective for 2 weeks once out of the fridge. Andy

AMcD DAFNE Graduate
University College Hospital, Galway
38 posts

Since yesterdays comment I have looked up the shelf life of novorapid from the pharmaceutical particulars data which gives a maximum 4 weeks storage when stored below 30 degree's. C. I would be more than suprised if your pharmacy had this stored on their premises out of the fridge......if so change pharmacy! ! Hope this

Alan 49 DAFNE Graduate
Maidstone General Hospital
284 posts

I spoke with the pharmacist today and she told me that if they dispense the prescription in advance of collection, then the insulin is packaged separately and put back in the fridge. If the prescription is for home-delivery, they wait unril the delivery-driver is there then dispense it with the tablets in one bag and it arrives within 45 minutes.

That seems OK to me.

AMcD DAFNE Graduate
University College Hospital, Galway
38 posts

Agreed. In fact I often have my insulin in the car for a few hours before I get home to the fridge and never had a problem. As far as I know the effectiveness of the insulin drops off gradually rather than suddenly once outside the recommended time limits on being out of the fridge. I must do further research..... hope all is well. Andy