How quickly does insulin used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) expire?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Insulin is sensitive to heat and exposure to oxygen. Once a bottle of insulin is open, it should be used for no more than 28 days and then discarded; even if there is still some insulin in the bottle, it may have lost its clinical effectiveness. Insulin kept in a pump reservoir for longer than 3 days may lose its clinical effectiveness (though insulin aspart has now been approved for use for as long as 6 days in a pump).

Sometimes, insulin distributed from the pharmacy has been exposed to heat or other environmental factors and therefore may be less active. If a patient is experiencing unexplained high blood sugar levels, new insulin vials should be opened and used.


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