Refrigerated, unopened insulin after expiry date

Has anyone ever used refrigerated unopened insulin after the expiration date?

I never have, don't think it's a good idea! Of, course I've only been dx'ed type 1 for less than 2 years.

I've never had a bottle in my fridge long enough to expire, but I agree with Keith, probably not a good idea. I wouldn't think it would cause any harm, but you never know. If you do try it, you should check BG and ketones often.

I have used insulin up to like, 2 years after the date. I didn't notice anything different with my sugars. However, this is something I am not telling you to do =) Each person is different. Insulin (Lantus I know) will turn a yellowish color when it is bad. I am not sure about Novolog or Humalog.

I've used plenty of things after the xp date on accident and nothing has ever gone horribly wrong.  Sometimes I need to take extra insulin, but I can't be sure if that is due to the age of insulin or a poor estimate of carbs from a night of eating out.

Expiration dates on Rx, and other medical supplies are there to protect the manufacturer. They will guarantee the products safety, strength, and reliablility up to the expiration date, after that you are on your own if there are any problems. It is like using lancets that are past date, what could be wrong with them, are they not as sharp?!

That said I would probably not use it. Was this recently filled at a pharmacy, If so I would have them replace it with new insulin. If you have been storing it for that long I would recommend getting a new Rx filled and be on the safe side when it comes to that important of something for your health. 

Thank you for your replies.

I'm using a vial of expired Lantus right now as we speak.  It works as well as any other as far as I can tell.  It was about 3 months past when I opened it.

As long as it's still clear and not cloudy most of the time it's fine. I've used expired insulin because it's all I had when spending the night at my boyfriend's parents house.

Okay Hey I'm Joey I'm 16 I Live In Yonkers .!


I was wondering cause i have like 6 novoloq pens but there like past date couple years maybe 2 / 3 and they are the only ones i have before i can get refills cause like i was useing up to date ones but they ran out and the times not up to just get another box of insulin do you think it would be fine to use this box of insulin past date i feel like atleast trying it to see if it will make a change in my bloodsugar but i just want to know opinions .....


Any Help .

its just supposed to be "less potent" but i havent noticed a difference

i have ues  unopened insulin after the expiration date & i haved no problems.

I see this is an old topic brought back up, but I don't use expired insulin for the same reason I don't use expired test strips: they may not work properly.  I want to be absolutely sure I'm getting the right insulin amounts for my current needs and I want to be absolutely sure my readings indicate my actual blood sugar at a given time.  Diabetes is hard enough to manage on its own, so why risk taking potentially inefficient insulin and getting potentially inaccurate blood sugar readings?  I imagine the manufacturers post expiration dates on these products for a good reason.

I am currently using insulin (novolog) that was refrigerated and expired 11/2009 and have noticed my glucose levels have been significantly higher, so it definitely isn't working as well as normal. That is not what I'm worried about though. I just read that whats dangerous about it is the fact that the insulin crystallizes, and that those crystals somehow adversely affect your immune system? Now I've heard insulin is not supposed to be bad unless it's cloudy, but I've heard that is mainly with the old insulin bottles and not as much with the newer insulin pens... I guess what I'm saying is that I have no freakin clue. Does anybody know anything about this crystallization? or do the newer insulins get cloudy? 

Thanks for the thinks,


without getting into grim details, 2 major things can happen to sterile insulin injection USP (the stuff we call insulin) and it doens't matter who makes it or what formulation it's in  (analog, fast acting, NPH, basal, whatever)

when a fragile protein chain breaks down, it just doesn't work anymore.  so insulin past it's exp dat, may just not work... meaning bs 500 in the middle of the night, puking, DKA, etc.

the other ingredient in the bottle is water (WFI, "sterile", and pure) the most likely thing to happen to purified water over a very long time is it won't be pure anymore.  It's possible that it could have significant bio-burden...  "bugs"... bacteria, etc.   if it's past it's expiration date and ESPECIALLY if it's a bottle that's been used before.

it doesn't have to be cloudy, or yellowish, or anything, chances are you'd never be able to tell it was bad by looking at it.

hey I guess you can drink milk a few weeks past it's expiration date too, if you're willing to take the risk. =)

Ive never used expired insulin because I never let insulin sit in the fridge long enough because with my pump I'm changing my reservoir every 3 days. So insulin doesn't sit in my fridge long enough to expire. Doctors definitely don't recommend using insulin after it's expired... But in my opinion, I think the insulin is most likely ok to use (NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD DO THIS) the only reason manufacturers put expiration dates on them, so you'll throw them away when it gets old and buy some more from them, which ends up helping them get more money.