Can you freeze insulin? No, you can freeze insulin but you should not because it is impossible to inject it once frozen. Even after thawing the hormone, you should not use it because freezing breaks down insulin, rendering ineffective. Frozen and thawed insulin will not lower your blood sugar and should be disposed.
Novolog provides prescribing information warning you as follows: “Do not freeze NovoLog.” Also, they warn that you should not use NovoLog after it has been frozen. So, insulin manufacturers mean business when they give this description.
Similar prescription warnings exist for Humalog, Levemir, Lantus, and Apidra insulins.
According to the BD Diabetes website, frozen insulin must not be used.
Why You Should Not Freeze Insulin
Despite manufacturers’ recommendation that insulin need to be stored in the refrigerator, if you try to inject cold insulin, the injection will be quite painful. Storing your bottle of insulin hours to injection at room temperature is the ideal practice.
Insulin stored at room temperature has a shelf life of 30 days.
In case you’ve bought several bottles to save time and money, keep them in the fridge, only taking out each bottle ahead to time to get it ready for injection.
Why Is Freezing Insulin a Bad Idea?
Freezing causes denaturation of the insulin. This makes it to lose potency and will no longer function as required. Even though you might inject frozen and thawed insulin without it causing any harm, it will not reduce your blood sugar level.
Insulin Storage Temperature
The recommended temperature for insulin storage is 2 to 6°C (36 to 43°F). The ideal place for storing insulin is in the refrigerator and not the freezer. For a portion you’re using on the day, it is okay to store it at room temperature.
An article by Diabetes.org.uk indicates that storing the day’s insulin at temperature slightly above room temperature during summers.
Putting insulin in the freezer will destroy it. Diabetes UK recommends throwing away insulin that has stayed in the fridge for more than 28 days because it has broken down and will not be effective.
Storage of other types of insulin may vary slightly, so make sure to check the information provided by the prescriber or healthcare team.
Is Frozen Insulin Still Safe?
No, frozen insulin is not safe because it has lost its potency and will not lower your blood sugar as intended. Therefore, you risk getting health complications due to elevated blood sugar level.
How to Store Insulin
- Store insulin at 2 to 6°C (36 to 43°F).
- Keep insulin away from direct sunlight because sunlight causes breakdown.
- Avoid leaving insulin in hot places such as inside a closed car.
- Write the date you’ve opened it on the vial or pen or the day you’ve started keeping it outside the refrigerator (once opened, used it for only 30 days).
- Check expiration date indicated in vial or open and throw away expired insulin.
- Always check your insulin for color changes. If it has clumps or some white particles, throw it away. Good insulin is clear and does not have a cloudy appearance.
Can You Store Insulin in a Syringe?
Yes, prefilled syringes can be stored in the refrigerator with the needle pointed up to avoid insulin from obstructing the needle hole. Syringes containing only one kind of insulin (rather than mixed insulin) will last around a month. Read and follow all of the label’s instructions.
If you are unable to prepare an insulin dose but can administer an injection, you may require someone to prepare your insulin dose for you. Prefilling insulin syringes can be done by a family member, friend, or a health professional.
- Keep prefilled syringes in the refrigerator with the needle pointing up to avoid insulin from clogging the needle hole.
Syringes containing only one kind of insulin (rather than mixed insulin) will last around a month. Read and follow all of the label’s instructions.
Storing Insulin While Camping/Traveling
Refrigerate your insulin pen until you’re ready to use it; after that, it is okay to proceed and store it at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Inquire with your doctor about if your particular insulin is known to have a shorter or longer shelf life.
Some insulins need to be used in as short as 10 days, according to the manufacturer.
If you have any reason to believe your insulin has ever been frozen, you must not use it.
How Do You Store Insulin While Traveling
To store insulin while traveling, use an insulin travel cooler with great performance that can maintain fridge temperature while transporting insulin will be required.
Insulin retains its potency for 30 days when stored at room temperature. Storage of insulin in an insulated bag while traveling in hot weather is recommended.
Keeping your insulin close to your body will prevent it from freezing if you are traveling in frigid climates.
When traveling with insulin, the best way to ensure that your supply remains safe and cool is to utilize a high-performance insulin travel cooling system that will surely keep your insulin vials or pens at the right low temperature for an extended period of time.
Your best storage device for insulin at the moment as you travel is 4AllFamily 72 hours USB insulin cooler.
It is also a good practice to keep your insulin in the shade at all times.
Take caution and avoid putting your insulin in your car, especially on days when it is sunny.
Keep insulin out of your leather bag on hot days, or remove them near the stove or fire while comping.
In high temperatures and direct sunshine, insulin can degrade and lose its effectiveness, resulting in sugar spikes and unmanageable glucose levels, as well as other complications.
Using Insulin Travel Cases and Coolers While Traveling
Insulin coolers, as well as cooling cases, bags, and pouches are all important diabetic devices that are specifically designed to retain insulin at a cool temperature.
Hundreds of products are available to meet the needs of people with diabetes and their different budgets.
When traveling and you need to carry insulin for less than one month, it is recommended that you use cooling bags such as the well-known Frio bags or the high-performance 4AllFamily cooler will do an excellent job of protecting your insulin vials or insulin pens from heat damage.
*The information contained in this article is not medical advice*