Domestic refrigerator may affect insulin quality

Washington: Your refrigerator may pose risk to the quality of the insulin which, as per a new study is often stored at the wrong temperature in patients’ fridges at home, affecting its potency.

New research being presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Germany stated that many injectable drugs and vaccines are highly sensitive to heat and cold and can perish if their temperature shifts a few degrees.

To prevent loss of effectiveness, insulin must stay between 2-8°C/36-46°F in the refrigerator or 2-30°C/30-86°F when carried about the person in a pen or vial. Individuals with diabetes often store insulin at home for several months before they use it, but little is known about how storage in domestic fridges impacts insulin quality.

To investigate how often insulin is stored outside the manufacturer’s recommended temperature range, doctors monitored the temperature of insulin formulations stored in fridges at home and carried as a spare.

On average, insulin stored in the fridge was out of the recommended temperature range 11% of the time (equivalent to 2 hours and 34 mins a day). In contrast, insulin carried by patients was only outside recommendations for around 8 minutes a day.

Importantly, freezing was an even bigger issue, with 66 sensors (17%) measuring temperatures below 0?C (equivalent to 3 hours a month on average).

Dr. Katarina Braune said,”Many people with diabetes are unwittingly storing their insulin wrong because of fluctuating temperatures in domestic refrigerators. When storing your insulin in the fridge at home, always use a thermometer to check the temperature. Long-term storage conditions of insulin are known to have an impact on its blood-glucose-lowering effect.”

For people living with insulin-dependent diabetes who take insulin several times a day via injections or continuously administer insulin with a pump, precise dosing is essential to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes. More research is needed to examine the extent to which temperature deviations during domestic storage affect insulin efficacy and patient outcomes.