Unrefrigerated insulin maintains activity

Several types of human insulin can be stored unopened at temperatures of 25 °C (77 °F) for up to six months and at 37 °C (98.6 °F) for up to two months without losing potency, according to an analysis by the pharmaceutical companies BIOTON, Eli Lilly and Company, and Novo Nordisk.

Moreover, the researchers found that simple insulin storage containers, such as clay pots, maintained temperatures lower than those in the outside environment.

Typically, health authorities and manufacturers recommend refrigerating unopened insulin vials and then storing them at room temperature for only up to 45 days once opened.

People with diabetes who depend on insulin should follow manufacturers’ recommendations concerning refrigeration whenever possible. However, the research findings suggest that those living in conflict zones, areas affected by natural disasters, or regions experiencing periods of extreme heat due to the climate crisis, among other challenging situations, can store unopened human insulin without refrigeration for a period of time without it losing its therapeutic activity.

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