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Traveling with insulin vials and Penfills
andy957 posted:
Hi everyone, I'm a T2 diabetic on a pump and am about to take a 3- hour bus trip and then a 2 hour layover at an airport followed by a 2 hour flight before arriving somewhere that has a refrigerator. I realize all insulin manufacturers recommend keeping any unopened vials/Penfills refrigerated until opened and then they're good at room temp for 30 days but I want to know is that really 100% required. Can I travel with an unopened vial for 7 or so hours without refrigerating it and then put it in the fridge when I arrive, or just don't worry about it and assume that as long as it's kept out of the sun I can use it safely at room temp after opening it?

I know there are always 'recommendations' and best practices but I think sometimes these rules can be bent. I once used an ice pack but when I arrived at my destination, the insulin was frozen and I was advised to throw it away as it was no longer good.

If someone could comment on this with a definitive answer, I'd be really grateful.

Thank you.
Anon_74671 responded:
check the insert of your insulin. most are good for 30 days at 37?C (body temperature)
laura2gemini2 responded:
I use a cool jel pack that was in the refrigerator (not frozen). I dont put the vial next to the cold pack, but usually wrap it with something like a dish cloth. They also make insulin traveling kits that has a cold pack in it. Never put vials on ice, or against anything frozen because the insulin will freeze.

The insulin is good for 30 days at room temperature, but then you have to dispose of it. In body temperature it degrades a little faster, and I was told not to keep any that warm unless I was using it in my pump right then.

I would say (aside from asking your doc or CDE for a professional answer) that as long as you keep it cool it should be OK.
dianer01 replied to Anon_74671's response:
you can also check the insert for a toll free number where they should be able to answer this question
accelerate out of the corners
technogran responded:
Keeping insulin cool while travelling is easy if you use one of the crystal gel packs that are soaked in cold water for 10 minutes to active the crystals. They form a cool gel, and can keep insulin or any other meds cool for several days without reactivating the crystals. They are called Frio packs and come in various sizes.

I have two, each holds up to 10 pen cartridges. They come in different sizes and shapes to suit insulin pens, cartridges or vials and I believe they make a model for pump wearers too. Just do a Google search for the name and you will see what I mean. I have used these for the past five years or more, and find them very reliable. Once they have been soaked, you just towel dry the outer surface of the gel pack, and insert it into a special outer pouch, so that it doesn't get any moisture on anything in your bag or pocket. It is much easier than relying on ice packs, as there is no need for refrigeration, and there is usually water avail be to reactivate when necessary.
auriga1 responded:
Andy, not really rules, just recommendations. Once, you take the insulin out of the fridge, it needs to be used within the 28 days. Otherwise, refrigeratred, it lasts longer.

The "rules" are for your own benefit. What happens to insulin if it is not properly referigerated? I really don't know. I do use the pens, so they are in my purse. You are probably O.K. for the hours you are traveling. Just make sure when it comes time to use it, that it is clear (if yours are supposed to be clear.) Check your blood sugar 45 minutes to an hour after injection to make sure it is working for you. Some insulins take longer to start acting on the blood sugar; some shorter. Not sure which insulin you are talking about.

I have found the best thing to use while traveling are the Frio insulin cooling cases. They come in all different sizes and work very efficiently. Check out their website if you are interested in such a thing. I cannot give you a definitive answer on whether your insulin will be still good and/or effective once you reach your destination.
andy957 replied to technogran's response:
@technogran: thanks for that. I purchased a Frio pack from (they shipped it overnight) and it seems to have worked well.
andy957 replied to auriga1's response:
@aurigua1: thanks, I purchased a Frio insulin pack and I think it did the trick.
dhelems responded:
I also am a T2 diabetic and on the pump. I ride a motorcycle and out for hours at a time. When I need to travel, I carry my vial of insulin and not refrigerated at all. When I am at home I normally keep the vials in the frig.

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