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Insulin Bottles and Cartridges

Some insulin pens are designed to be used with an insulin cartridge. These pens are meant to be reused. Insulin pens that do not come with separate insulin cartridges are disposable, and the insulin is prefilled inside the pen. When you prepare to take insulin, check the label on the bottle (vial), the disposable pen, or the cartridge for the refillable pen for the:

  • Expiration date of the insulin.
  • Correct name and source of insulin (human or pig) prescribed for you.
  • Correct type of insulin prescribed for you (rapid-, short-, intermediate-, or long-acting, or mixed).
  • Correct concentration of insulin prescribed for you. (The most commonly used concentration is U-100, which contains 100 units of insulin per milliliter or cubic centimeter.) Sometimes insulin is produced in a less concentrated (diluted) form for babies. Make sure you give your baby the dilution your doctor prescribed.

Also, check the bottle, pen, or cartridge for cracks or chips. Look for changes in the appearance of the insulin that can indicate it will not work, such as:

  • A coating of white crystals on the inside surface of the bottle.
  • A grainy look or clumping or curdling of the insulin.
  • Other changes in the insulin's clarity or color.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Current as of July 11, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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