Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Handling Insulin During an Emergency

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has posted a fact sheet on insulin storage and substitution during an emergency such as the Katrina hurricane.

Some highlights:
  • Try to keep your insulin refrigerated, between 35ºF to 46ºF.
  • If your insulin cannot be kept cool, it will still retain its potency for about 28 days if its temperature doesn't rise above 86ºF.
  • Keep your insulin out of direct heat and direct sunlight.
  • When possible, replace insulin that was exposed to heat or sunlight.

In an emergency, only when a physician cannot be consulted, you may switch your insulin for another brand as long as you maintain its type. For example, regular of one brand may be substituted for regular of another, intermediate for intermediate, etc. The FDA's fact sheet describes more precise substitutions across brands.

Insulin manufacturers may be reached at the following toll-free numbers:

Eli Lilly:        1-800-545-5979
Aventis:         1-800-633-1610
Novo Nordisk:    1-800-727-6500


For the FDA's fact sheet:
Information Regarding Insulin Storage and Switching Between Products by Victims of Hurricane Katrina