• Cooling India
  • Oct 15, 2016

10 Tips For Storing & Carrying Insulin

Do not let your dependence on insulin for your fight against diabetes, restrict your lifestyle. Here are 10 tips that will help you store and carry your insulin...

- Anirudh Batra, Vishnu Sasidharan

 Insulin therapy is often an important part of diabetes treatment. The primary role of insulin is to keep the level of glucose in the bloodstream within a normal range. After you eat, carbohydrates break down into glucose, a sugar that serves as a primary source of energy, and enters the bloodstream. Normally, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which allows glucose to enter the tissues. Insulin helps in storage of excess glucose for energy. On eating — when insulin levels are high — excess glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. Between meals — when insulin levels are low — the liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. This keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range.

  If your pancreas secrete little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or your body does not produce enough insulin or has become resistant to insulin’s action (type 2 diabetes), the level of glucose in your bloodstream increases because it is unable to enter cells. Left untreated, high blood glucose can lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage (neuropathy) and kidney damage.

  Insulin although a very useful hormone, is only potent when it is stored under right conditions or it will begin to breakdown. This results in it being absorbed and moved around the body differently, affecting blood glucose levels. However, by following a few simple tips we can ensure that the potency is maintained.

1. Studies show unopened insulin is best stored inside the fridge [2° to 8° Celcius]. Unopened insulin stored in the refrigerator is good until the expiration date printed on the insulin box.
2. Once open there are different storage needs for insulin. What does OPEN mean? OPEN means the insulin cap is removed and the rubber stopper was punctured. Vials and pens have different needs for storage. These differences can lead to confusion.
Open (in-use) vial: Opened vials, whether or not refrigerated, must be used within 28 days. Although refrigeration is highly recommended, if however not available, the open vial in use can be stored for up to 28 days in a place away from direct heat and light, as long as the temperature is not above 30°C.
Pen: Once used for the first time, insulin pens should not be stored in the fridge. Instead, they should be stored at controlled room temperature (15°C to 25°C at a relative humidity of 60%). The number of days you can use the pen will depend on which pen you use.

3. Store insulin in a refrigerator in hot climates where possible.
4. Do not expose to direct heat e.g. car glove compartments, near a fire, radiator or windows.
5. Never store in a freezer. If insulin is frozen, do not use it. Do not use even after thawing. Freezing temperature will break down the insulin and it will not work well to lower your blood sugar. Frozen insulin must be disposed.
6. Do not leave in sunlight. Exposure to light diminishes the potency of insulin.
7. Write the date on the insulin vial on the day you open it or start keeping it outside the fridge. This will help you remember when to stop using it. Throw the insulin away 28 days after opened or since kept out of the fridge.
8. When traveling, keep insulin on your person or in your carry-on bag. Insulin placed in suitcases that are transported in cargo holds of aircraft, boats, and buses or in car trunks may be exposed to damaging temperature extremes unless it is protected in a special bag.
9. Shuttling opened insulin vials between refrigeration and room temperature does not appear to affect the insulin’s potency. However, manufacturers of insulin pens do not recommend storage in a refrigerator once a pen is opened and in use.

10. Check the appearance of the insulin before you use it. Insulin becomes unsuitable for use — if the soluble (clear insulin, quick acting) may look cloudy or turbid. Suspension or cloudy insulin may have lumps or clumps that do not disperse when gently mixed, or the bottle/vial may have a frosted appearance with particles sticking to the sides. It may also turn brownish incolor.

  Pluss has developed a complete solution for carrying insulin- PronGO versatile. The bag comes with advanced Phase Change Materials (PCMs) packs, which maintain a temperature of 2-8°C for up to 5 hours and an extended 15 hours for a temperature control between 2°C to 25°C.The bag is portable and light to be carried easily.

  The combined passive cooling from PCMs and thermal insulation ensures protection from temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight.

  The bag has an overall internal capacity of 3 litres making it versatile for carrying other refrigerated products as well for long travels. PCMs are innovative smart materials that release cool/heat energy at a precise temperature as desired. These bags would be most beneficial during both short (4-5 hours) and long duration (up to 15 hours*) travel through road, flightor train.

*2-25°C only recommended for opened vials.Standard testing done under an ambient temperature of 30°C.

Anirudh Batra
Associate - Business Development,
Pluss Advanced Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Vishnu Sasidharan
Business Development,
Pluss Advanced Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

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