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Insulin preservation: adapted heat insulated packing

31 July 2012
Insulin transport and preservation in insulated cooler bags for diabetics.

There are 356 million diabetics in the world and, according to forecasts, the number of deaths linked to diabetes could double by 2030*. The injection of insulin makes it possible to regulate the blood sugar levels of diabetics. Due to this, the preservation of insulin is one of the major preoccupations for patients, as it is for the distributors and dispensing chemists.

The preservation of insulin: issues and risks

Insulin is a heat sensitive product which must be kept within a controlled range of temperatures. From the laboratory to the patient's home, the transport of insulin must be ensured with the utmost compliance with the cold chain. The objective is to avoid all temperature variations in order to guarantee the efficiency of the treatment.

In fact, the rise in temperature can be very fast: it only takes two minutes at room temperature for a sensitive treatment (vaccine, heat sensitive medicines or insulin) to cross the critical +8°C threshold. Further, insulin must not reach a temperature below +2°C. The danger is that the deteriorations to insulin cannot be detected. This is why it is essential to transport insulin in the same temperature conditions at each step of the transport.

 Insulated cooler bags adapted to insulin transport

To avoid all breaks in the cold chain during the transport of the insulin, Sofrigam supplies insulin cooler bags, with or without cold production. For transport from the laboratory to the distributors, wholesalers or chemists, Sofrigram offers different ranges of heat insulated packing adapted to the volume of products to be shipped and the travel time

Furthermore, diabetics can procure themselves a cooler pouch Coolvax: it is the best solution to preserve their insulin at between +2°C and +8°C, from the chemist's shop to their home, or during a short period of travel. These pouches are available in three different sizes, and preserve the product from 30 minutes to 2 hours. For longer travel, or if the volume of insulin to be transported is greater, the Thermotrousse or Sofribag packing should be used.

 These bags are reusable and need no special maintenance apart from disinfection after each use.

 Preserving insulin in very hot weather

From the moment the insulin is prepared in the injector pen, it can be kept at room temperature for a short time before use (up to about +20°C). But it must never be subjected to major temperature variations or be exposed to heat. In summer it may be necessary to use an heat insulated packing with a gel pack.

However the refrigerating gel must be used correctly to avoid freezing the product. For example, it is better to keep it in the refrigerator before use rather than the freezer.

Sofrigam’s insulin cooler bags have two pouches which are used for gel packs which are quite flat and not in direct contact with the product. The insulin is thus kept cool when outside temperatures are high, without the risk of being frozen.

The incorrect preservation of insulin can make the treatment ineffective. It is strongly recommended not to use an insulin injector pen that has been exposed to heat or been frozen (through incorrect use of a refrigerating gel for example). Insulated or refrigerant packing is essential for preserving all the therapeutic properties of the treatment.

* Source: WHO, 2011.

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