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    The Facts About Insulin for Diabetes

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    How Should I Store My Insulin? continued...

    A good rule of thumb is that if the temperature is comfortable for you, the insulin is safe. You don't need to refrigerate vials of insulin that you are using. But keep extra bottles of insulin in a refrigerator. The night before you are ready to use your new bottle, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature. Don't let your insulin freeze.

    For insulin pens, check the package insert for storage instructions.

    Always check your insulin bottle. Rapid-acting, short-acting, and certain long-acting types should be clear. Other forms of injectable insulin should look cloudy but not have clumps. 

    If you carry a bottle of it with you, be careful not to shake it. That creates air bubbles, which can affect the amount of insulin you withdraw for an injection.

    If you use inhaled insulin, store it as directed on the package. You must refrigerate the sealed packages until you're ready to start using them. If you don't refrigerate them, you must use them within 10 days. You can refrigerate packages you've opened, but before you use it, the cartridges should be at room temperature for 10 minutes.

    When Do I Take It?

    Follow your doctor's advice. The length of time between your insulin shot and meals may vary depending on the type of insulin you use. For example, if you use a rapid-acting type, you would likely take it 10 minutes before eating a meal, or take it with your meal.

    If you use regular- or intermediate-acting insulin, you should generally take it about a half-hour before your meals, or at bedtime. If you take your insulin one half-hour before meals, you will absorb your food at the same time that the insulin starts to work. This will help you avoid low blood sugar reactions.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 14, 2015
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