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
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.
Carried out by Dr. Katarina Braune from Charité -
Universitaetsmedizin Berlin in Germany in collaboration with
Professor Lutz Heinemann and the digital health company MedAngel
BV, the new study set out to investigate how often insulin is
stored by patients at temperatures that fall outside the
manufacturer's recommended range.
The researchers recruited 388 diabetes patients living in the
USA and the EU and asked them to place MedAngel ONE temperature
sensors either next to their insulin in the fridge and/or in their
diabetes bag for insulin carried as a spare.
The sensors automatically measure the temperature every three
minutes, which is up to 480 times a day, before sending the data to
an app where it can be securely recorded. Temperatures were
recorded for an average of 49 days.
After analysing 400 temperature logs, including 230 for
refrigerated insulin and 170 for carried insulin, the researchers
found that 315 (79 per cent) were stored at
temperatures outside of the recommended temperature range.
To prevent loss of effectiveness, insulin must stay
between 2-8°C in the refrigerator, or 2-30°C when carried
about in a pen or vial.
On average, insulin stored in the fridge was out of the
recommended temperature range 11 per cent of the time (equivalent
to 2 hours and 34 minutes 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 per cent) 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
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.