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7 Responses

  1. Scott E
    Scott E June 21, 2014 at 6:55 am | | Reply

    I’ve mostly respected expiration dates on test strips, but I’d love to hear the science behind expiration dates on infusion sets.

  2. Tami
    Tami June 21, 2014 at 8:27 am | | Reply

    I work in biotech in R&D and have been part of stability studies to determine expiration dates. I also have a type 1 son and a sister and sister in law with type 1. While it is true that companies make most of their money on consumables – in this case the strips – it is not true that there is a conspiracy. It is just the way it is. As it was stated in this article, many studies are done to determine shelf life and yes a cushion is built in at a timepoint where near 100% of the results remain in acceptable range. Also, as this article points out, there are multiple factors that affect performance. Stress studies were also likely performed (storage at higher or lower temps, exposed to air, humidity, etc.) That is also how they determine the best storage conditions and label as such. So, the milk analogy is right on. In fact I just dumped some last week before the expiration date as it smelled bad and my son is known to leave it out the whole time he is eating. This article does an excellent job explaining the science (reason) behind expirations. Bottom line, no, they are not hard and fast but a good guide to follow while incorporating some common sense and previous knowledge of expected outcome.

    As for the infusion sets, they are most likely good much longer, but again there are many factors. The plastic cannulas are relatively narrow and used to deliver pretty small and specific amounts of a life saving med. If that plastic is stored in a hot car for example, the plastic may be affected enough to change shape (melt) even slightly enough that it may affect delivery dose. Also, at higher temps, chemicals from the plastic may leach out into the solution (in this case. Insulin). Again, stress studies were performed and different materials tested to find a plastic with the most stability. There is quite a bit of science that goes into these things. It’s just that us consumers only see the end product. Also, consumables and devices are constantly being upgraded and improved – which is a good thing. So, bottom line for infusion sets and expiration is again a manufacturer guideline, but common sense and knowing how you stored the items will help you decide. In all cases, whether expired or not, we know how these things should work. If something doesnt seem right don’t use it. Manufacturers do make mistakes and have to recall lots. Believe me they are even less happy about it than we customers as they have to replace and destroy all returned product. And answer to the FDA. So, they do do everything possible to send out the very best product each and every time. Hope this helps (and not too nerdy)!

  3. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter June 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | | Reply

    Next week, or sometime this summer, can you address expiration dates on insulin? Same issues probably with delivery and storage. I’m noticing that my cartridges and pens work better if I use a new one every 14 days. After 14 days, my blood sugar climbs and it takes more to bring it down. They used to last well over 28.

  4. Amy Halvorson Miller
    Amy Halvorson Miller June 21, 2014 at 9:37 am | | Reply

    And while we’re at it, what about the short life of enlite sensors? 6 months?

  5. Kathleen O'Doul
    Kathleen O'Doul June 21, 2014 at 10:30 am | | Reply

    Quite a timely and well written article. I really appreciate the detailed and the scientific thinking applied to this article.

    I always check my test strips for expiration date and I always do my quality assurance. How in the world can I believe my test results if I have no proof as to the capabilities and accuracy of my meter?

    In addition on my sugar log I note when I change from one lot number two the other. Once in a while I’ll see a creep up or down in my BGs … That has nothing to do with me but with the lot number I’m running for test strips. Ditto for one lot to a next summer run a little high on one end of the testing range for glucose. That could be crucially important if I’m crashing or if I’m running a really really high sugar.

  6. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth June 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm | | Reply

    I’ve always wondered this, so I’m glad to see this post! Like others are saying, I’m also curious about expiration of insulin, particularly after opening (I know my Apidra only seems to last 3-4 weeks, refrigerated, before degrading) as well as Dexcom sensors…I’ve used expired sensors, and never noticed any issues.

    I found a bottle of Lente insulin while cleaning out my attic a few months ago, dated 1991, as well as an even older bottle of Chemstrips! I wonder if the Lente would do anything in the event of insulin shortages during a zombie apocalypse…

  7. Susan Whittier
    Susan Whittier June 22, 2014 at 11:34 am | | Reply

    I have more trouble with milk going sour than strips or other diabetes paraphianila expiring – perhaps it was my pointed conversation with the local pharmacist at one point about something being ‘expired’ – never happened again! When I was providing home care nusing, I did have one of my patients present me with a box of very outdated stips+ – the reason I inquired at all was because of the difficulty the family was having between visits keeping a stable BG. I was shocked – checked with a different meter and found the expired strips were the problem. That was an easy fix for an otherwise stressful situation.

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