Apidra SoloSTAR Shortage

Kelly Booth picture of Apidra SoloSTAR penYesterday, someone posted a link on TuDiabetes about an Apidra shortage in the UK and Finland. Today, Manny posted a link from Sanofi Aventis that the Apidra shortage is also hitting the US. The shortage is apparently only for SoloSTAR pens and not the vials.

I will post part of their notice below along with the link to the full notice, but I have a couple comments to make here first. A lot of us use pens as opposed to vials because a vial is only supposed to last about 30 days. Unfortunately with Apidra, that is not the case. I previously wrote about all the wasted Apidra I have had to toss because of both vials and pens going bad in a week to ten days. You can read that article here. As I wrote in the original article, I found another blogger that was having the same problem with Apidra. You can read that article on Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Low here.

The dying early seems to be very hit or miss with Apidra – some of it does, some of it doesn’t. If I have a pen that actually doesn’t go bad, I can get two weeks out of one pen. One pen is 300 ml of Apidra. That means that I use about 600 mls of Apidra per month. One vial is 1000 ml and is supposed to last 30 days. I would only use about 60% of one vial before having to toss it. That is ASSUMING that it actually lasted the full 30 days. My experience is that it doesn’t last two weeks let alone 30 days. During the eight months that I pumped, I rarely was able to use a full vial before having to toss it. The same goes with pens that are only opened for two weeks at most.

Switching to a vial with Apidra is NOT an option for me. I have already wasted too much Apidra in both pens and vials. At least when I was pumping and using the vials, I was using the Apidra as both basal and bolus and used more. I am doing MDI now and using Levemir as my basal insulin. I am not about to ask my insurance company to pay for 3-4 vials of insulin when 40% of just one of those vials would have to be tossed even if it did not go bad early. Sorry Sanofi Aventis, but I will not do that.

I have put up with the waste so far because Apidra is a really good insulin, when it doesn’t die early. Out of the fast acting insulins currently on the market, it has the shortest duration for me. With gastroparesis, it is necessary to stack insulin to try and match up insulin with digestion. I take a lot of small shots of Apidra throughout my day as my meals digest. Both Humalog and Novolog hang around for a lot longer for me, so stacking doesn’t work very well with those insulins for me. Now when I go to refill my Apidra SoloSTAR pens and can’t get anymore, my control has been thrown out the window. Thank you Sanofi Aventis!

I guess you can say that I am not real happy with Sanofi Aventis at the moment. I am having flashbacks to what Abbott Diabetes Care did with the Navigator. Do these companies producing medical stuff even understand that if we don’t have insulin, we die? Do they understand that if they kill off all their customers, their profit dies also?

Here is the first part of the notice from Sanofi Aventis and you can read the remainder here:

Important information: Temporary shortage of the Apidra® SoloSTAR®

(insulin glulisine [rDNA origin] injection) pen

This is to inform you of a temporary shortage of Apidra® SoloSTAR® pens. The shortage is due to a technical incident that occurred at the Sanofi manufacturing site in Frankfurt, Germany, which has led to a temporary interruption in production. In compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices, Sanofi is currently making every effort to resolve the issue. Following stringent quality tests, we expect to achieve normal supply levels by the first quarter of 2012. All Apidra® SoloSTAR® product currently available is safe to use. No other Sanofi insulin products, eg, Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection) are affected.

Note: Apidra® vials are still available and are unaffected by this event.

If you are currently using the Apidra® SoloSTAR® pen, talk to your

healthcare provider about temporarily switching to Apidra® vials

Comments

  1. You need to refrigerate the vials and they are free now until April with 0 co-pay.

    • I always kept my vials in the refrigerator and they still went bad. Unfortunately, that offer by Sanofi is not good for everyone – it won’t help me because I have a Medicare plan. My insurance pays my pharmacy more than than most insurance companies pay for insulin, but because it is a Medicare plan, Sanofi Aventis doesn’t want to pick up my co-pay for me. They don’t seem to have a problem getting a bigger profit out of Medicare than they do from other insurance companies but won’t help out Medicare recipients.

  2. Bill Boyce says:

    How does insulin “go bad”? How do you know? Do you have symptoms? Does it change color, or what?

    • You know something isn’t right when your BS starts going up for no reason. If you change the insulin out and it comes down but goes back up when you try that same insulin again, I would say it is safe to say it is the insulin. I know that I am not the only person that had problems with Apidra going bad. More recently, I have had problems with Levemir. I had one bad pen in a box of 5. I just switched back to a pump because my BS started going up after opening a new box of Levemir pens. There are a lot of things that could happen – the fridge might be bad at your pharmacy or it was sitting in the sun on a truck and not properly refrigerated. The bad insulin that I have had has always looked normal.

  3. Dan Rozmys says:

    I use the Apidra Solostar pens (when I can get them), as well as Lantus Solostar pens. I keep them in the refrigerator, and have not had any go bad, as far as I can tell. The literature that comes with it says that if it gets cloudy, its bad. I haven’t had that happen. I will now watch by glucose results closely for an increase as the pen ages. In my case, my readings will go over 200 in a heartbeat if I have a glass of juice or something like that, so that might not work well for me. I fluctuate too much!

    • I have had some get cloudy and it seemed to work OK but the ones that went bad looked normal. If your corrections normally work to bring you down and quit working, that could be a sign for you that the insulin is bad. With pens, I don’t have a problem trying a new one and jut putting the questionable one off to the side in the fridge to try again just to make sure it was the insulin and not me!

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