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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Storing & handling insulin

Storing your insulin

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

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 that is left.

Always check the expiry date on the insulin vial or cartridge before you use it. Never use insulin that is out of date.

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, don't squirt the left-over amount back into the vial, as this could contaminate all the insulin in the vial.


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

Storing insulin when travelling

You may need to adjust the amount of insulin you take if you are changing time zones, going somewhere hotter or colder than you are used to, or going to be more or less active than you usually are. If you think you might need to adjust the amount of insulin you use when you are travelling, contact your diabetes nurse specialist or GP for advice. Use the travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need. You can buy travel supplies from the Diabetes Christchurch shop.

On the next page: Diabetes equipment

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Last reviewed May 2016.


See also:

Safe sharps disposal

Page reference: 268486

Review key: HIDIA-21832