Pump question

Hey guys I was wondering on average how much insulin do you throw away when changing your site? Today was the first time I used all but .2 but normally I discard around 10units bc its how much is in there at the time I have to change it, so I was just wondering what everyone else discards..thanx!

I will run it down to zero. I wait until it beeps incessantly at me that it's out of insulin. I don't have a job... or a social life... so I'm pretty much just sitting at home, ticking away the units waiting for it to run out. Ok, so my life isn't quite THAT boring, but you get the idea. I don't like to waste insulin, so I'm going to use as much of it as I can. That shit's expensive.

It really depends for me. I work overnights and most nights (95%) I am at work alone. So I am not able to go away and change it.

I usually let it give me my second warning that it is low. Depending on things (Sleep, Work, and other things) I will change it then or if I now I am going to be at home I will let it run down some more.


I like C like to run that sucker down to the end. I will even go as far as to plan my day and meals around getting the insulin to nothing. For example, if I have ten units of insulin left and I am going to grab lunch and go to class I will say:

5 units are necessary to make it to class and back

3 units to give me some time in case I get held up

that leaves me 2 units for lunch

Its probably not the safest thing to do but like C said, that shit is expensive.

I also tend to run it down to the last few units - not usually zero, though, for me.  And I also will make food adjustments, if the cartridge is running low.  It's motivation for me to back off of the carbs for a couple of meals.  I loves me some carbs.

I run it to zero and will adjust what I eat or take a supplemental shot to correct or cover a meal if needed.  Think most pumps allow you to change the alarm settings so it won't drive you crazy when the reservoir gets low.

We change Chasey's every three days and it's usually after school if there's enough insulin to last her the day. There is never more then 10 units left and I would say at least 50% of the time we get the low warning. So we don't waste that much.

I change with anywhere between 15 & 0.  Rarely do I let it run down to zero, I'm not going to adjust my schedule based on how many units are left.  Although I do feel awkward  wasting those unused units.


I always do it the morning after day 3. That gives me 20 - 25 units left. Normally. However I like the cushion it does give me for random indiscretions like peanut butter and chocolate.

Pumpers -

Mother of a non pumper, here, with a quesiton in this vane. . .

How does pump insulin arrive? You all speak of letting it run down to 10 or less units, or change it every third day (I assume when changing your site). But then what, just pop in a new "sleeve"? Does a prescription, generally, last a month? Can you feel it if it is fresh out of the fridge?

Sorry, for the on slaut of questions, but I am considering the pump next year and wonder how to budget for the prescription in my FSA.

The insulin is normal fast acting, depending on the brand suggested by your doctor. The pump consists of 4 parts or in my description. The first is the pump, that is the one non-disposable piece unless you go with the Omnipod. The other pieces are the infusion set (that is piece that has the little catheter/ tube that goes under the skin for delivery), the tubing (which carries insulin from the reservoir to the infusion set), and the reservoir. The reservoir is what you are thinking of. We fill them each change, so it usually depends on the amount of insulin used by the pumper. That is the "sleeve" as you termed it, i like that. But you are still going to be filling that with insulin. It does not come pre-filled.

I put the leftover insulin back in the vial before I fill a new reservoir. The only insulin I lose is what's in the tubing.

Just to add onto what Brian said, everyone fills their reservoir with a different amount of insulin depending on the typical amount of insulin you would use in two to three days. That way, when you have to change your site, you can change your reservoir as well. It can be pretty hard to estimate your insulin usage for the next three days, but you can get pretty darn close. Thats why we mention going down to 10 units, running it empty and so on and so forth.  

[quote user="Jerry"]

I put the leftover insulin back in the vial before I fill a new reservoir. The only insulin I lose is what's in the tubing.


This is exactly what I do too.

My daughter has been on the pump since April.  We change her infusion site on the morning of the fourth day.  That way, the site is only for three full days.  Unfortunately, we waste way too much insulin, sometimes between 20-25 units.  However, my daughter gets very nervous about running out.  Also, we have had to re-prime several times.  Each time you re-prime, then you go through 6-14 units.  I feel really bad about discarding the insulin,  but, I would not re use it either, or mix it with new insulin.   I believe the integrity of the insulin diminishes with time.  I know with "fresh insulin", it is more potent.  We actually do a temp basal reduction by 10% to prevent her from going low on the "fresh insulin".  We usually keep our insulin in the refrig because in Texas it gets too hot to leave it out.  So, when we get ready change our site and refill the cartridge, with let the insulin get to room temp.  Then we fill the cartridge with what we need for the next three days and refrigerate the remaining vial.  

I am glad that you are asking questions.   Our endocrinologist is with Texas Children's Diabetic Clinic in Houston.  They are wonderful and have great educators.  We actually went to a class with the various pump manufacturers and previewed each pump and asked the reps lots of questions.  They are very helpful.  The pump can do alot of things.  Slowly you learn all its different utilities and how to best help your child maintain her blood sugar.

One thing I caution, if you are on a long acting insulin and a short acting insulin before getting on the pump, be sure to stop the long acting insulin at least 12-24 hours before starting the pump.

Anywhere from 0 to 5 units.  My insulin needs are small and consistent enough that I'm usually very close to empty at the exact "three day" mark, so I can often just wait a few hours to get down to 0 if there's no inconvenience.  I wouldn't change in the middle of a workday to do this, but I'd wait until that evening if I was sure I had enough.

Why don't you reuse the insulin. There's nothing wrong with it. It's just like the insulin in the refrigerator except it's been stored in the pump reservoir. It's not old enough to have gone bad.

Jerry,  I have been told that once insulin leaves the sterile environment of the bottle, it begins to deteriorate.  At least, that's why I've been told not to "reuse" it once it's out.  The temperature difference between a fridge (35 - 40 degrees) and the inside of your insulin pump is quite different too, which also quickens the deterioration.

Hi Dan -

I typically change my pump site shortly after my "low reservoir" alarm goes off (I have it set at 40 units), though it depends on the time of day. If it's early in the day, I would probably make it through the day on the 40 units. If it's in the evening, I would wait until the next morning to change. I usually have around 10 units left (or less) when I change my site. I try to use as much insulin to save $$$ when I can.

~ Anna