How You Should Store Your Lantus Pens & Vials at Home

Lantus is one of the most prescribed brands of insulin in the United States. But studies have shown that most patients don’t know how to store their medicine correctly at home.

Don’t be one of them. Optimal refrigeration and adequate storage are what guarantee that Lantus stays fully effective for the longest. Ultimately, your diabetes management depends on it.

Learn here how to refrigerate, store, and keep your Lantus pens or vials once back from the pharmacy.

Keep Lantus Refrigerated at All Times with 4AllFamily's Travel Coolers!

What is Lantus? 

Lantus is a long-acting synthetic insulin used to treat people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It helps lower blood sugar levels and keep them in the normal range to prevent diabetes-related complications. 

Long-acting insulins, also called basal insulins, have a prolonged duration of action and stay in the bloodstream for 24 hours. As opposed to fast-acting insulins (bolus insulins), they're usually taken once daily and help manage blood glucose between meals and overnight.

Lantus is administered via subcutaneous injections and is available in different formats like the Solostar auto-injectable pens, vials, or cartridges.

Does Lantus need to be refrigerated?

Yes, Lantus need to be refrigerated. Like all types and brands of insulin, Lantus is a biological drug. More specifically, long-acting insulins like Lantus, Basaglar, and Toujeo contain insulin glargine as their active ingredient.

Biologic drugs are made from parts of living cells (plants, animals, or humans). Therefore, they are highly sensitive to temperature and storage conditions. As a result, biologics like Lantus can quickly spoil, go bad, or get contaminated when exposed to high temperatures, luminosity, or humidity.

That’s why Lantus must be refrigerated before opening and is only good for a limited time once taken out of the fridge. 

Lantus storage instructions

According to Sanofi, the manufacturer of Lantus, this insulin must be stored in the fridge before opening (36°F to 46°F / 2°C to 8°C ) until the expiration date labeled on the contained. 

Once open or out of the fridge for more than a few hours, Lantus must be kept at room temperature (below 86°F / 30°C) and is only good for 28 days.

When kept inside the fridge, ensure your pens or vials are not in direct contact with the freezer compartment. Frozen Lantus isn't safe for use, even if it has thawed afterward.

Additionally, you must pay attention to avoid exposing Lantus to direct light for prolonged periods of time.

How long does Lantus last?

Like any insulin, Lantus has two different expiration dates. The first one is the one labeled on the container by the manufacturer. Lantus lasts until this official expiration date if kept in the refrigerator. It’s usually about one year after the purchase date.

The second expiration date is not set but occurs 28 days after you've opened your Lantus pen or vial for the first time or left it out of the fridge for a few hours.

How long can Lantus be unrefrigerated?

Once left out of the fridge, Lantus has a limited shelf life and is only safe for 28 days. Past that time, laboratory and clinical tests have shown that it starts degrading and losing efficiency.

So, Lantus can be unrefrigerated for a maximum of 28 days. It should be protected from high heat and direct light during that time.

Can you put Lantus back in the fridge once opened? 

No. According to Sanofi, you should not put Lantus back in the fridge after opening it. Once it has reached room temperature and the cold chain is broken, putting it back in the fridge won't prolong its shelf life. Besides, temperature fluctuations aren't good for biological drugs either.

How long is Lantus good for after opening?

Lantus is good for a maximum of 28 days after opening or until its expiration date if it occurs first.

Once Lantus has expired, you must throw your pen or vial away, even if it still has insulin inside. Using expired insulin or insulin that has gone bad can be dangerous for your health. So do not take any chance. 

Related article: Does insulin expire? How long is it good for?

What happens if Lantus is not refrigerated?

When not refrigerated, Lantus becomes unstable and starts degrading gradually. Like other insulins and biological drugs, Lantus stability at room temperature is limited. As said above, it's only guaranteed to be safe for use and fully effective for 28 days when not refrigerated.

Insulin is a protein, and, like any protein, its exposure to light and high temperatures can spoil it.That's why the Lantus Solostar pen cap is opaque. It protects the medication from light.

What if Lantus gets warm?

While Lantus can stay unrefrigerated for 28 days without risking deterioration, it should still be protected from high temperatures.

Exposure to temperatures above 86°F / 30°C, even briefly, can quickly make Lantus go bad and lose its potency, which could ultimately cause severe consequences for your health, including high blood sugar levels and ketoacidosis. 

During 28 days after opening, protect your Lantus pens and vials from heat. Never leave them near a heat source (stove, chimney, etc.). Do not leave them in the car on a sunny day, and use an insulin cooler whenever outside temperatures are above 86°F / 30°C.

When in doubt, and if you think your Lantus got warmer than that, throw it away immediately and get a new one from the fridge.

How to keep Lantus cool while traveling?

Keeping insulin cool while traveling or away from home is one of the biggest concerns of people with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Whether on holiday or not, there are numerous situations where your Lantus pen may be exposed to high temperatures, especially if you live in or travel to places where it frequently gets above 86°F/ 30°C. 

Most diabetes patients choose to use a portable insulin cooler like the ones from 4AllFamily. Our team of experts designs medical-grade travel coolers for people whose life depends on refrigerated medications.

4AllFamily Travel Fridge for Medicines
4AllFamily's Travel Fridge for Insulin - Buy here

Our products range from pocket-size insulin cooling cases to high-performing mini travel fridges. Depending on your needs, travel habits, and lifestyle, they can function with USB power or simple freeze packs. They're all TSA-approved to keep your insulin cool even while on the plane.

 

 

4AllFamily's Nomad Cooling Bottle for Insulin

Related article: The ultimate checklist to travel with diabetes

How to tell if your Lantus pens or vials have gone bad?

Like most insulins, glargine insulin, such as Lantus, is a clear, colorless, water-like liquid. Visual inspection may help tell if your Lantus has gone bad. Any change of color, cloudiness, clumps, strings or frost inside indicates that Lantus isn't suitable for use. However, bad Lantus isn’t always visible.

Unexplained high blood sugar levels may also indicate your Lantus has gone bad. In any case, when in doubt, immediately throw your in-use pen or vial away and get a new one from the fridge. Do not take any chances.

Related article: Can insulin go bad and how to tell if it has?

What are the risks of using bad Lantus?

The main risk of using bad Lantus is prolonged hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). If your Lantus has expired, whether because of a past expiration date, exposure to high temperatures, or being unrefrigerated for more than 28 days, it may have lost its efficiency and become useless.

Injecting bad Lantus is like injecting water. While it won’t make you sick, it won’t lower your blood sugar. Ultimately, this could cause diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening diabetes complication.

We hope we've answered your questions about refrigerating and storing Lantus. If not, please place your comment below! 

2 comments

4AllFamily Customer Care Team

Hi Timothy,
If you do not have access to a fridge, you do need a portable solution to keep your stocks of Lantus refrigerated. Lantus can be only left unrefrigerated for up to 28 days.
If you have access to household or USB power, we recommend using our big-size insulin cooler: https://4allfamily.com/collections/4allfamily-insulin-cooler/products/portable-medical-fridge-usb-insulin-medicines.
When plugged in to a power source, it keeps insulin refrigerated for an unlimited time. It can hold up to 7 Lantus pens. Should you need to buy several units, please reach out at contact@4allfamily.com so we can help you.
All the best,
4AllFamily Customer Care Team

Timothy

I live in the country side and have no access to a fridge. I have to buy 2 to 3 months supply of Lantus insulin. How for i store the insulin for later use?

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