Lantus/Travel Strategies

Klinkkk-kruunch! Another Lantus vial bites the dust! Now that sticky sort of aura of it all over the bathroom counter… and tomorrow the argument with the insurance folks about why I need to renew the prescription again already. Gotta have at least two vials in the house!

So now I’m in hot pursuit of a vial protector thingie that fits a Lantus vial. Discovered the InSure vial protectors, but confirmed just now that the Lantus bottle is too tall and skinny and will slip right out. Anyone found an individual protector like this for the Lantus vials yet?

Also saw my educator yesterday to discuss my upcoming trip to Europe. (Only 8 more days, aagh!) As if flying 11 hours with 3 little kids weren’t enough, of course I’ve got to mess with insulin ice packs, syringesCustoms_4, and splitting doses en route. We agreed I should take half my normal Lantus at my regular (West Coast) time, and the other half when I land; then take my normal evening dose that first night in the new time zone.

Bolus is harder because my ratios are very different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When they serve you “breakfast” on the plane at midnight your time, what do you do with that? CDE wasn’t so sure either. All she said was to “err on the side of caution” to avoid lows. I see I’m going to need LOTS of test strips and supplies for this trip…


17 Responses

  1. Gina
    Gina June 30, 2005 at 6:14 am | | Reply

    Ah, If you had a pump…it would be so simple!!!!!

  2. AmyT
    AmyT June 30, 2005 at 7:06 am | | Reply

    Weeell, yes, but don’t you still need to schlep a bunch of “back-up” insulin and syringes during travel when you’re on the pump? Still need to adjust doses for time zone changes? Still diabetic… *sigh*

  3. Nick
    Nick July 2, 2005 at 9:22 am | | Reply

    Pumps aren’t perfect. Pumpers need backup insulin in syringes at all times.

  4. Nick
    Nick July 2, 2005 at 9:25 am | | Reply

    Not sure what you need to protect your Lantus vial from. You keep it in the refrigerator, don’t you? My Lantus vial comes in a cardboard box. I keep it in the cardboard box. I keep all my insulin sealed in a big ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

  5. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver July 2, 2005 at 2:57 pm | | Reply

    When I went to Europe, I did fine. I set my pump to France time when I got on the plane. I did the same coming back.

    Unfortunately, you are on long acting, which I personally despise, especially after going low before surgery when I was supposed to be fasting and almost had to delay the surgery.

  6. AmyT
    AmyT July 2, 2005 at 9:30 pm | | Reply

    Guess I forgot to mention that I’ve done this before: last year’s trip to Germany. Worked pretty well. What KILLED me was the toddler’s jet lag. Here’s hoping that’ll be less severe this year ;)

    And Nick: need to protect the Lantus vials from MYSELF. Tap the dern things on the counter the wrong way, and “Klinkk-crunch”, they’re busted! Done it many a time, I’m afraid. Definitely could use some padding for these sensitive vials.

  7. DensityDuck
    DensityDuck July 5, 2005 at 5:53 am | | Reply

    Thus far I have had a pump for thirteen years and have had only two incidents where it broke down and would not deliver insulin. One of them was my fault (I dropped it in the shower; this was before the advent of the QR infusion sets) and the other time, the pump started working as mysteriously as it stopped. In both instances, I had a replacement pump delivered within 24 hours (and in the former case I was at a hotel, rather than at my home address.)

    Sure, I have a pack of needles in my Diabetic Box (which also has my test strips and insulin vials) but I’d carry the Box around anyway, so there’s nothing extra. And it’s a lot easier to keep plastic intact than glass vials…and if the plastic gets squashed, the items inside might still be usable.

  8. DensityDuck
    DensityDuck July 5, 2005 at 5:54 am | | Reply

    Something I don’t think I really made clear: Nothing I have seen, read, or experienced makes me think that I should have insulin+syringes with me at all times as a backup.

  9. Dr. Roosevelt
    Dr. Roosevelt July 15, 2005 at 10:20 am | | Reply

    Use the KISS principle. If you are on once a day Lantus keep your Lantus on your home time and vary your bolus insulin injections according to your meal time where ever you are.

  10. AmyT
    AmyT July 17, 2005 at 11:24 am | | Reply

    Dr. Roosevelt,
    Thank you once again for your informed input. But I must say, this one doesn’t sound like a viable strategy: if I kept my Lantus at the usual PST time, that would mean I’d have to inject smack in the middle of the day here, i.e. 1pm.

    It would surely take me up to 2 weeks to figure out how to adjust bolus ratios to accommodate the mid-day Lantus, with lots of MISTAKES along the way — a surefire way to RUIN a vacation!!

  11. Rjp
    Rjp November 12, 2005 at 7:05 am | | Reply

    For those of you who have travelled Europe… i am leaving in 2 months to backpack for four months. Did any of you go for a period of time long enough that you had to refill prescriptions? How simple or difficult was it? I won’t be able to carry all of my supplies with me (maybe enough for 1 month at a time) and then will have to refill. I will be on the pump by next tuesday, so will have lots of adjusting to do before I go!

  12. J. Smith
    J. Smith May 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm | | Reply

    First, I too am searching for a Lantus Insulin Vial Protector.

    I also use Humalog, and prior to the Lantus / Humalog combination, I was on a NPH / R combination, for which I would use one green and one purple MedPort InSure Insulin Vial Protectors, which I now use with the Lantus and Humalog vials.

    I use the purple Vial Protector for the Humalog vial, which matches the purple cap on the Humalog vial, and since the vial is the same size as other standard vials, it fits perfectaly.

    Enter the Lantus vial, which is taller and smaller in diameter than a normal insulin vial, intentionally, so that Lantus can not be confused with other “clear” inuslins in a normal size vial. What I am doing here, temporarily I hope, is wrapping the Lantus vial with two rows of tape (I guess I could use one row of 2 inch wide tape) in order to build up the diameter of the Lantus vial, so that I could use the green Vial Protector with it. It just barely works, considering the height of the Lantus vial, but it does just barely fit with the bottom of the Lantus vial just even with the bottom of the Vial Protector (although this may not survive a direct hit squarely on the bottom of the Vial Protector). Ultimately, I hope someone (possibly MedPort) will come up with a Vial Protector for the Lantus Vial.

    Secondly; Addressing the issue of whether one should carry his insulin with him, or leave it at home in the frig.

    I have to take my Humalog in conjunction with my meals, hence I need to carry it with me, since I may be eating out, or with friends, or having a bag lunch, or whatever. I can only accomplish this by carrying my Humalog with me.

    Additionally, I must take my Lantus injection, once a day, at the same time each day. My doctor prefers for me to take this in the morning, and my normal schedule means that I would take it at 9:00 AM, since I usually sleep late. However, sometimes I may have to get up early and be somewhere else at 9:00 AM, and hence I must, at least sometimes, carry my Lantus vial with me also.

    Since I have already had one Hypoglycemic incident where I passed out and my glucose level dropped to 29, and I woke up stareing at 6 Paramedics, with a 50cc Horse sized syringe full of Dextrose being pumped into my arm, I am very very afraid that I may have such an incident happen again, but where I may not be so lucky.

    I was fortunate on that one occasion, and to insure that I do not have another similar incident, I carry a small half pint bottle of Honey with me all of the time, along with my other diabetes supplies (insulin, syringes, meter, strips, etc.), and a small Blood pressure Cuff, all packed into a small “fanny pack” with a small ice pack, which goes with me everywhere, and which I never leave in the car or some other place where the insulin could become over heated.

    I know, I know, there are several brands of large “glucose tablets” that one can carry with them, but the problem there is that each “tablet” only has about 4 to 5 grams of carbs (sugars), but they not only have to be chewed up, but swallowed, before they even can begin to work, whereas one chug-a-lug on the “honey pot” is equivalent to a dozen or so “tablets”, ready to be digested.

    I currently use a small little “half-pint” plastic water bottle for my little “honey pot”, which fits into my little “fanny pack” nicely. I am on the lookout for a suitable smaller container, which will not leak or break easily.

    I am not sure, but Hi Fructose Corn Syrup, might be a good alternative to honey, as an emergency source of carbs (sugars). Either way, I would rather be safe, and carry such a sorce of instant “sugar” with me (in the event that I go Hypoglycemic), as opposed to becoming one of those who “Died due to complications of Diabetes”.

  13. Mike
    Mike June 24, 2007 at 8:12 pm | | Reply

    Traveling to Japan, any help on how to adjust my lantus before I leave, I like to take it in the evening…I live on the East Coast, so have to allow for the flt and time zone changes any help would be appreciated if anyone else has done this before

  14. Lee DeFusco
    Lee DeFusco May 14, 2008 at 6:12 pm | | Reply

    It is nice to read the thoughts of all of you.

    I have been type 1 for 25 yrs. and am 51 yrs. old. Still in good health, thank God.

  15. MC Gray
    MC Gray July 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm | | Reply

    I was searching the internet to see if there had been any kind of vial protector invented and found a couple, but the reviews on them were not too good. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1972 when I was 16 years old. I am now 51 and thank God I am still in great health. Needless to say I have broken several vials of insulin over the past 36 years. I decided to start dipping the bottom 1/2 (when turned upside down you can see how much insulin is left) of the insulin vial in a product called “Plasti Dip” which can be purchased at Lowes and Home Depot. It is used to coat the handles of tools to give them a non-slip grip. I put about 5 coats on it and I have to suspend the vial in between dips to allow the Plasti Dip to dry. I cut a notch out of a piece of a cardboard box and slid the top of the vial into it. I wipe the drip off of the bottom of the vial with a toothpick so that the Plasti Dip will be level and the vial will still sit flat. I tested it a few times without it breaking. I made the mistake of not “dipping” my last bottle of Lantus and sure enough, the bottom of the box opened up when I took it out of the refrigerator and the vial broke when it hit the tile. It seems like the bottom always blows out of the vial when it hits the floor. Anyway, I am now putting tape on the box and dipping my vials again in Plasti Dip. You’d think as much as Lilly charges for insulin that they could afford to put some type of coating on the vials to keep them from breaking. My insurance company only allows 2 replacements in a 12 month period.

    If anyone has any better ideas of how to protect insulin bottles, I would love to hear about them.

  16. Thomas
    Thomas August 7, 2009 at 1:30 am | | Reply

    I discovered Frio, a UK company, that sells ‘cooling’ wallets. These are NOT freezer packs but uses basic physics to cool things. i.e. with evaporation you get cooling. Inside the wallets are crystals that, when soaked in water, turn into a gel. As the water in the gel evaporates it cools.

    I’ve used them in Dubai where the summer temperatures are sometimes over 50C (122F) and they keep the insulin at indoor (air conditioned) room temperature.

    I highly recommend them and they appear to have a US distributor see their website at . I have no affiliation with this company – other than buy their products.

  17. Ashley
    Ashley June 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm | | Reply

    I know you wrote this a long time ago, but I figured that anyone who comes across this article would appreciate a link to some insulin protectors for all types of insulin. :)

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