Avoid these common mistakes to keep your insulin safe and effective. The right storage is important for our medications, as temperatures that are too warm or too cold affect how well it works.
Many medications, including insulin, lose their effectiveness when exposed to heat or freezing temperatures.
Thankfully it does not become harmful, but a portion or all of the insulin peptides do not work anymore. There is no visible change to the medication when that happens. The result is insulin with a varying potency and blood sugars that won’t go down, without a way of knowing if it was the insulin or something else.
When reading this, you might think of your beach or skiing holiday, when your insulin is exposed to heat and sun or extreme cold. However, it is actually the fridge at home that poses the biggest risk for insulin, biologics &co.
Many medications, including insulin, should be kept between 36–46°F / 2–8°C, when we store our stock of a few months in the refrigerator. If you have every taken frozen tomatoes out of your fridge, you already know that domestic refrigerators are not exactly up to medical standards.
They have warm and cold zones, some areas are prone to freezing, the temperature fluctuates up and down every few hours and you need to adjust the settings over changing seasons and when the fridge gets older.
The actual temperatures in 4 different spots of a modern fridge (set to 46°F) over the weekend — not always in the recommended safe range of 2–8°C/36–46°F, once even close to freezing. Read more here.
You don’t even need to think of a worst case scenario, like your insulin completely freezing and becoming ineffective. When you keep medication stocks in your fridge for weeks or months, why not try to get it right? Even exposure to a few degrees lower or higher outside the recommended range add up over a longer time and can gradually lower insulin effectiveness.
Don’t worry, there is no need for investing in a new fridge now! With these tips you can make sure that your medications stay safe and effective:
Use a thermometer! The temperature shown on your fridge control panel is only an approximate setting, and does not represent what is actually happening.
Digital thermometers that record a time-temperature curve are the best tool to understand what happens, even when you are away. These are by the way also used by pharmaceutical distributors, hospitals or pharmacies to ensure that our medications are stored right!
One solution especially made for people who use insulin, is MedAngel. The MedAngel temperature sensor is kept with your medications, a companion app alerts you if it gets too cold or warm.
This way, you can find the ideal spot in your fridge, react to changes and get a warning before something happens.
Just select your medication in the app, put the sensor next to your pens or vials and be sure that your insulin stays safe and effective.
Have one in your fridge and one with you on the go!
To learn more about MedAngel and find our online store, visit our home page.