Insulin Stash

Question borne primarily out of curiosity - for those who are able to set aside a “stash” of extra insulin, what is your ideal amount? 3 month supply? 6 months? Year’s supply? Or just whatever you’re able to get?

My prescriptions allow me to theoretically get a significant amount of insulin above what I generally use. I don’t even fill my prescriptions often (fill my 3 month scripts twice a year, usually) because I could get so much extra. The primary reasons for this are I have low insulin needs to begin with, and I use my Novolog and Basaglar pens past that 28 day mark.

I’d love to share what I don’t need, but I’m not sure how much I should set aside for myself for emergencies and whatnot (and I’m not sure how to get connected to those in need).

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Great question! We feel comfortable with 6 months. The reason being if we are forced to go longer than that without insurance, we will just drive to Canada and buy over the counter. Realistically, having 2 months is all we would need for the big earthquake, but we have also planned for the more likely thing which is unemployment without insurance. So depending on your situation it could more or less.

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Part of it depends on your co-pay!

It doesn’t take up much space if you find a good container for it. If you can get a few years worth and it doesn’t cost you too much, why not? It won’t go bad.

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At my lowest I’m at 3 months extra and after filling my script I’m at 6 months.

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I’d not be comfortable with less than a year supply on hand…

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Only a few of months for me, but I’d like more! My current prescription does not have sufficient extra vials for me to save up much more. I store them in the basement where it is cooler.

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One thing you can mention with your endo is that there is waste with omnipods. Like if you use X units a day, you need to put more in the pod to cover any variation. And occlusions also cause you to lose insulin.

Discuss with your endo to get your script increased. Or just tell your endo you are using more insulin these days.

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And hope your endo is not like the NP I saw last time I (truly needed) an increase. Told her I was taking an additional unit lately plus I’d need a unit to prime (I rarely do…), and aren’t the pens supposed to be tossed every 28 days? She bumped up my one basaglar pen/90 days to two. I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t even push it. Kicker was she had diabetes, too; I thought she might actually get it, but nope.

@Sam, that is quite the stash! :open_mouth: Every year I intend to fill all of my prescriptions on time to build up a hefty stash, and each year I always end up not doing it due to cost vs need. It doesn’t cost that much, considering ($75/3 month prescription), but I have so many other medical expenses, it’s been difficult for me to justify it when I technically don’t need them all.

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We have a lot. Maybe two years or more extra and I’ll continue saving and stashing. I don’t plan for the best of times (now), i plan for the worst of times. What if i lost my job and can’t afford supplies any longer? It’s not likely, but in my mind it’s better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

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I agree with Harold.

How many years of insulin do I want to have in my fridge? Well…how long do I want to live?

It is not really an optional medicine.

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Just tell your provider you want a little extra because your usage varies or whatever… they don’t care… they’ll just prescribe whatever you ask for generally, and if they don’t then they’re not a good fit.

If you get it through mail order they won’t split boxes… there’s 1500 units in a box of pens, so if you just say you need, for example 20 units per day instead of 15– they’re going to give you 2 full boxes every 90 days, or at least allow you to get that… and so on… that’s how you build up a stash. I also keep a couple years worth of R and NPH on hand for emergencies, and have a mini fridge full of afrezza

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Thanks for this suggestion! This is actually the case! I waste a lot of insulin with the omnipods. I thought about removing the excess when a pod expires but it got to be too much effort trying to remove the air from the insulin. And yes, then there are the bad pods that need to be replaced. Another request for my endo next month! :slight_smile:

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Along the same lines as Sam’s comment, you can also use that foolish “discard 28 days after opening” rule as a way of garnering more.

For example, a vial has 1,000 units. If your script says “inject 35 units per day” you only get 1 vial per 28 days.

A very small change like “inject 36 units per day” means the vial runs out before the 28 days is over!

Oh no! I need a script for 2 vials every 28 days now!

Always do the math before your endo appointment, so you can tweak the extra vial or pen.
:wink:

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You can buy sterile vials for only a few bucks. That makes it easy.

Or use an old insulin vial, if you get vials instead of pens.

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That is a great idea. I use the existing OmniPod syringe to remove the leftover insulin from the expired pod. I can inject that into an old insulin vial, and try to remove the air as I remove its insulin from the vial, as I do now anyway. I know that bubbles and air make a huge difference in insulin resistance with the pod so I try to remove as much as possible!

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I suggest using a normal 100 unit syringe for both putting in and removing insulin from the pod.

These are so much easier to expel the air from!

If you use more than 100 units, you can just do two injections while loading the pod with insulin. The pod won’t care! I do it that way.

(When putting in insulin at the start, the longer needle does not matter. Just insert it as far as it will go. It will stop when it hits the bottom base.)

Try something like this for 1 month. You will never go back!

This is a cheap way to try it. This is 25 BD syringes (1 CC, 100 units) for only $7. I’ll bet you never go back to those ridiculous omnipod syringes! I’ll bet you the $7!

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Haha, never thought of this!! I’ll try on the next pod change, tomorrow! !

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I’ve ended up going back to my stockpile stash occasionally, which is really handy. Since I started with Lantus/Humalog, then Tresiba/Fiasp and now am Omnipod with Fiasp vials, the old expired pens are still saved in the fridge. I used some 2017 Lantus early this year and it worked great. I also carry an expired Fiasp pen in my day bag in case I have a need for it. So the old expired stockpile is put to good use.

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@Trying
I started this vial a few months ago. The label says “Used NovoLog”. Not actually used, but just to indicate that it has spent time in a pod.

image

It’s a simple process. I take the old pod off, fill the new pod, and then while priming the new pod, I take the same syringe and remove whatever is left from the old pod and put it in the “used” vial.

If the old pod doesn’t have much left in it, I don’t bother. But if it has 20 units or more, I want to salvage it.

I don’t generally use the “used” vial to fill a pod. But I will use it for occasional syringe injections.

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Thanks, Eric! This is what I plan to do. I just tossed my last empty vial so I will need to buy a sterile vial (or wait to go through my current vial, not a long wait!).

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