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.