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HealthInfo Canterbury

Storing & handling insulin

Retro fridgeKeep any vials or cartridges of insulin you are not using in the fridge until they reach their expiry date. Keep them away from the freezer and freezer coils, at a temperature of 2 to 4ยบ C.

Keep any vials or cartridges you are using at room temperature. Cold insulin may sting when you inject it and take longer to work. Four weeks after you have opened a vial or cartridge, throw away any left over insulin.

When travelling, keep your insulin in as cool a place as possible, and keep it in your hand luggage when flying. You should store your insulin in an insulated container to protect it from extreme temperatures.

Do not:

Handling your insulin

Before you use cloudy insulin, you need to mix it well. If you are using a vial, gently roll it between the palms of your hands or move the vial up and down 20 times.

If you are using an insulin pen, turn the pen up and down 20 times before you use it, to mix the insulin well.

If you are using a syringe and draw up more insulin than you need, throw away the left‑over amount. Don't squirt it back into the vial, as this could contaminate all the insulin in the vial.

Always check the expiry date on the insulin vial or cartridge before you use it.


Don't use a vial, cartridge or prefilled pen if:

On the next page: Diabetes equipment

Written by Christchurch Diabetes Centre.Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2019.


See also:

Safe sharps disposal

Page reference: 178697

Review key: HIDIA-21832