Insulin remains stable out of refrigeration in hot temperatures - a gamechanger in humanitarian settings!

1 min read

Many humanitarian and low-resource settings are located in hot tropical regions where people with diabetes who require insulin are unable to keep it at temperatures required by pharmacopeia guidelines (often at or below 25°C during the period of use). This has meant that many individuals with diabetes are forced to visit medical facilities twice a day to receive insulin that is kept under refrigeration there. This causes significant disruptions to their lives and hinders their ability to self-manage their diabetes and live a functional and productive life.

A new study published in PLOS ONE has shown that insulin stored under oscillating tropical temperatures at Dagahaley Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya retained its structural and efficacy integrity up to 37°C, giving new hope to those living with diabetes in these settings. While more evidence on the thermostability of insulin is needed, this study gives clinicians more confidence to give patients insulin for home use, where it can be stored in locally made cooling containers, in the absence of refrigeration. A gamechanger for diabetes care in humanitarian and low-resource settings!

Dr. Philippa Boulle with Doctors Without Borders, one of the authors of the study, explains in this video.

Kaufmann B, Boulle P, Berthou F, Fournier M, Beran D, Ciglenecki I, et al. (2021) Heat-stability study of various insulin types in tropical temperature conditions: New insights towards improving diabetes care. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0245372.

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