Proper storage of your medications is crucial to ensure the success of your treatments. This holds for Repatha (evolocumab), an injectable biological drug used to treat high cholesterol levels.
Repatha is extremely sensitive to temperature conditions. Therefore, it must be refrigerated and can only stay at room temperature for 30 days.
Let’s explore proper storage practices, including temperature considerations, protection from light, and other essential factors to keep in mind, whether at home or traveling.
What is Repatha?
Repatha is an FDA-approved medication that helps lower high cholesterol levels. It is primarily prescribed to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), "bad" cholesterol, in patients at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes.
Its active ingredient, evolocumab, is a human monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors. Repatha works by inhibiting the PCSK9 enzyme that reduces the number of LDL receptors in the liver. By inhibiting PCSK9, it increases the number of LDL receptors, allowing the liver to remove more LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Repatha is typically used in combination with a healthy diet and statin therapy, a class of oral cholesterol medications.
Repatha is only delivered with a medical prescription and must be taken under the supervision of a professional healthcare provider. Never take Repatha injections without a doctor's advice.
Related article: How Long Can Praluent Be At Room Temperature?
How is Repatha administered?
Repatha (evolocumab) is an injectable drug administered via subcutaneous injections (under the skin). It is self-injected by the patient at home. Repatha is available in three different injection devices:
- The Repatha SureClick Autoinjector pen is for patients who take Repatha twice a month. It's an easy-to-use, single-dose, prefilled injection pen that contains 140 mg of evolocumab.
- The Repatha Pushtronex System is for patients who take monthly injections. This hand-free injection device is a single-dose on-body infuser with a cartridge prefilled with 420 mg of evolocumab.
- Repatha is also available in single-use prefilled syringes.
The injection is typically given in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Patients must receive proper injection training from a caregiver before self-administering the medication at home.
How often do you take Repatha?
Repatha is generally administered once a month or once every two weeks, depending on your cholesterol levels, medical condition, and overall treatment goals.
Always follow your doctor’s dosing instructions. If you have been prescribed Repatha and have questions about the dosage or frequency of your injections, it's best to consult your healthcare provider.
How to Store Repatha?
If you’ve been prescribed Repatha for your high cholesterol levels, you must have been warned that your injections require specific storage conditions and temperatures.
Following storage guidelines is essential to maintain your drug’s quality and ensure the effectiveness of your treatment. So, here’s how to correctly store your Repatha injection devices at home:
Note: Storage instructions are the same for Repatha SureClick Autoinjector pens, Repatha Pushtronex on-body infusion systems, and Repatha prefilled syringes.
According to Amgen Medinfo, the manufacturer of Repatha, the cholesterol injection must be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until it’s ready for use.
Additionally, it must be kept in the original carton so it's protected from light.
Once removed from the refrigerator, Repatha can be stored at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C) for a maximum of 30 days. After 30 days, the injection device must be thrown away, even if there’s still medicine inside.
In no case should Repatha be exposed to extremely high or extremely low temperatures. Do not let it freeze; never use a Repatha pen or syringe that has frozen, even if it has thawed afterward.
Why does Repatha need to be refrigerated?
Evolocumab, the active ingredient in your Repatha injections, is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are biological drugs derived from living organisms using recombinant DNA technology where human genes are inserted into cells to produce specific proteins.
Biologics like Repatha, Praluent, insulin, Saxenda, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, and many others, are complex molecules that are very sensitive to external conditions such as temperature and light. Therefore, they require specific storage conditions to remain stable, efficient, and safe for use.
Related article: What are Biologics & What are They Used for?
How Long Can Repatha Be Unrefrigerated?
As mentioned above and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, Repatha can be unrefrigerated for up to 30 days.
During that time, it should be kept at room temperature below 77°F (25°C) and should never be exposed to temperatures above that threshold.
Once Repatha has been stored outside the refrigerator and reaches room temperature, it should not be refrigerated again. You must use it within 30 days and discard it whenever it exceeds the specified temperature or storage duration.
What happens if Repatha gets warm?
Laboratory tests have shown that Repatha is stable at room temperature for up to 30 days. However, exposure to heat (temp. over 77°F (25°C), even briefly, can quickly spoil the medicine inside your injection device.
When Repatha gets warm, it can partially or totally lose effectiveness, which can seriously compromise your treatment and health. To prevent Repatha from getting warm:
- Always use a cooler when transporting your injections
- Never leave your medicine in the car
- Never place your Repatha injection devices near a heat source (fireplace, stove, barbecue, etc.)
- Keep your drugs away from direct sunlight; always in the shade.
When in doubt, and if you think your Repatha injections may have been exposed to high temperatures, do not use them. Discard your injector pen, on-body infuser, or prefilled syringe, and get a new device from the fridge.
When does Repatha expire?
Repatha (evolocumab) actually has two expiration dates: the labeled expiration date and the 30-day expiration period after it’s been removed from the refrigerator.
- The Labeled Expiration Date is printed on each packaging and injector pen, on-body infuser, and prefilled syringe. This date indicates the period the medication is guaranteed to be stable and effective when stored as instructed. It usually occurs about one year from the purchase date. Never use Repatha passed the expiration date!
- The 30-Day Expiration Period: Once Repatha is removed from the refrigerator and reaches room temperature, it has an additional expiration period of 30 days. After 30 days out of the fridge, Repatha must be discarded as its safety and effectiveness aren’t guaranteed anymore.
- Always check the labeled expiration date before using a Repatha SureClick Pen, Pushtronex infuser, or prefilled syringe.
- When you remove your injection from the refrigerator, mark the date on a calendar or set a reminder for 30 days later to keep track of the 30 days expiration period at room temperature.
How to Travel with Repatha?
Traveling with injectable drugs can seem challenging at first, especially when yours need to be kept refrigerated or protected from the heat! But with good habits and the right accessories, you can take Repatha injections wherever you go!
The most important thing to consider when traveling with Repatha is storage temperatures! Remember, your cholesterol injections can stay out of the fridge for 30 days only and should never be exposed to temperatures above 77°F (25°C). That affects your travel conditions in two ways:
- Prefilled Repatha injection devices that you’ll use within 30 days can be transported unrefrigerated but MUST be kept below 77°F (25°C). If you live in or travel to places where the outside temperature may get higher than that, you need a cooler.
- Stocks of Repatha pens or syringes that you’ll use in more than a month must be kept refrigerated while traveling, whatever the outside temperature is. In that case, you need a travel refrigerator.
The Pioneer Travel Refrigerator offers a convenient and reliable solution to travel with Repatha that must be kept refrigerated. It fits up to 4 Repatha SureClick autoinjector pens.
This medical-grade portable fridge can maintain an internal fridge temperature range of 36°F - 46°F (2°C - 8°C) for up to 12 hours using its battery, even in high temperatures of 104°F (40°C)! For extended travel duration, extra batteries are available.
When connected to a power source, the Pioneer Travel Refrigerator works like a real mini fridge indefinitely.
With its compact and portable design, the Pioneer Travel Refrigerator is an excellent solution for people who need to refrigerate Repatha injections while traveling or in situations where access to standard refrigeration may be challenging.
If you're traveling for less than 30 days and only need to keep your Repatha injections cool (not refrigerated), the Companion Soft Medical Cooler Bag could be a suitable choice.
This insulated bag maintains a safe room temperature range of 36°F - 79°F (2 - 26°C) for approximately 10 hours, even in external conditions with temperatures as high as 104°F / 40°C.
For a wider selection of Repatha travel coolers tailored to your needs, please browse our catalog or contact our support team for further assistance!
Related article: Tips for Traveling with Refrigerated Medications!
More tips for traveling with Repatha injections
- Consult your doctor before departure: Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice and additional recommendations based on your travel plans and needs before traveling.
- Ask your travel insurer about preexisting conditions. Some preexisting medical conditions, like high cholesterol and heart disease, may be excluded from coverage by travel insurance companies. Please read our article about travel insurance for preexisting medical conditions to make sure you're covered before departure.
- Bring extra Repatha and supplies: Ensure you have enough supply of Repatha to last throughout your travels. Consider the duration of your trip and any potential delays that may occur.
- Pack Repatha in your carry-on: If you’re flying, pack all the supplies for administering Repatha, including the injector pen, on-body infuser, or prefilled syringe in your carry-on bags. Hazardous temperature and atmospheric conditions in the hold could damage your medicine.
- Bring your medical prescription: You’re allowed to travel with injectable drugs like Repatha but may be required to show documents such as a medical prescription or a doctor's letter. So be ready with these documents, even though you probably won't have to show anything.
- Check local regulations: If you are traveling internationally, be aware of any specific regulations or restrictions regarding the importation or transportation of medications. Familiarize yourself with the local customs and guidelines to ensure compliance.