Wasted Apidra

Last winter, I started having a problem with my Apidra insulin. At the time, I was using my pump and it took me a few days to realize that it was the insulin. I changed sites several times and nothing was working. I had been using my vial for over a week so did not think that it was the insulin. I finally decided to open a new vial and my blood sugar went back to normal. A little over a week later, it happened again – my blood sugar went up as soon as I changed out my site and cartridge. I literally had my hand on my site to rip it out and decided to change the cartridge instead and open up another vial of insulin.  As soon as I used that new vial of insulin, my blood sugar went back to normal.  I had a spreadsheet that I kept track of my insulin use and marked the dates I opened a new vial. It seemed that every 10 days, my insulin would go bad.

Someone had landed on my blog using the search term “problems with Apidra,” so I decided to do a search with the same term. I landed a blog, Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Low, and discovered that she was having the same problem that I was – her Apidra was dying at about 10 days also. You can read her article here. I knew that other people were having the same problem. She lives in NY and I live in PA, so it is not like we were using the same pharmacy.

I started tossing the vial on day 10 just to avoid the highs. It was frustrating to say the least because there was no reason that my insulin should crap out that early. I kept the vials in the refrigerator between site changes. As soon as I seemed to get into a little groove of tossing the vial before my blood sugar went up, the consistency of the Apidra changed and sometimes it died on day seven and other times day nine or ten – there was no consistency in what it did.  I went back to the blog, Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Low, and realized that she was also having problems with it dying at different days, not just at 10 days.

In March after my second pump in eight months died, I decided to go back to MDI. Things seemed to go OK for awhile but in May, I started having Apidra problems again. Some of my pens last seven days and other ten days. According to the prescribing information on the Sanofi-aventis website, a vial or pen in use is good for 28 days and should be kept out of direct sunlight and in temperatures below 77 degrees. I keep my AC set at 68 during the day and 70 at night. It is never in sunlight. I would probably be happy if I could at least get 14 days out of it let alone 28 days!

I took a picture of the pen that I quit using yesterday after 9 days. I had over 100 units left. I am tossing enough insulin every month to make up a full pen. That works out to over two boxes a year of insulin that I am throwing away. My insurance allows $187 per box of pens. I am wasting around $400 a year of insulin. The sad part is, Apidra is the best insulin to use with gastroparesis when it actually works so I get to choose between wasting insulin or bad control.

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2 thoughts on “Wasted Apidra

  1. I have been on Apidra for several months and been having several problems over the last few months. I have been on the pump for over 12 years and have never had a site infection that wasn’t easily controlled with topical antibiotics or worse case a prescription. Until a couple of months ago the site infection became abscessed not sure if this was related the Apidra or not. I have never had a problem with my tubing clogging before Apidra and now I am having problems with “No Delivery” with my pump. I am also having problems with unexplained highs and correcting boluses not correcting the highs. I decided this A.M. I am going back to my Novalog.

    • I am sorry that you have had so many problems with the Apidra. Last summer when I started the pump, I had a lot of problems with it. Everyone tried to say it was me because I was a new pumper, but I did find some discussions on CWD and a message board for CDEs and nurses that discussed some of the same problems I was having. Some of the people were experienced pumpers like you that switched from Novolog to Apidra. One major thing I had a problem with was after 1 ½ days, the insulin was not any good so I had to change my cartridge out every day and a half to avoid the highs. I know it was the insulin and not the site because I would leave the site in and things went back to normal BS wise with a new cartridge.

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