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All about: Humulin

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Generic Name: Insulin Regular and Isophane (IN-su-lin)
Brand Name: Humulin

Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changes in purity, strength, brand (manufacturer), type (regular, NPH, lente), species (beef, pork, beef-pork, human), and/or method of manufacture may result in the need for a change in dosage. If an adjustment is needed, it may occur with the first dose or during the first several weeks or months.


Humulin is used for:

Treating diabetes mellitus.

Humulin is a combination of hormones that are produced by the pancreas and are necessary for the body's correct use of food, especially sugar. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to meet your body's needs. Insulin helps to keep your blood glucose at a nearly normal level.

Do NOT use Humulin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Humulin
  • you are having an episode of low blood sugar

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Humulin :

Some medical conditions may interact with Humulin . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have nerve problems
  • if you consume alcoholic beverages

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Humulin . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, atenolol), fenfluramine, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), or salicylates (eg, aspirin) because side effects, such as low blood sugar, may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Humulin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Humulin :

Use Humulin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • A health care provider will teach you how to use Humulin . Be sure you understand how to use it. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • This bottle must be carefully shaken or rotated before each injection so that the contents are evenly mixed. This combination insulin should look uniformly cloudy or milky.
  • Be sure you have purchased the correct insulin. Insulin comes in a variety of containers including vials, cartridges, and pens. Make sure that you understand how to properly measure and prepare your dose. If you have any questions about measuring and preparing your dose, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for information.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do NOT miss any doses. Ask your doctor for specific instructions to follow in case you should ever miss a dose of insulin.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Humulin .

Important safety information:

  • Humulin may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or changes in vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Humulin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using Humulin without discussing it with your doctor.
  • Inject each dose of insulin in a different area to prevent skin irritation.
  • Illness, especially with nausea and vomiting, may cause your insulin requirements to change. Even if you are not eating, you will still require insulin. You and your doctor should establish a sick day plan to use in case of illness. When you are sick, test your blood/urine frequently and call your doctor as instructed.
  • Persons traveling across more than 2 time zones should consult their doctor concerning adjustments in their insulin schedule.
  • Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular testing of blood sugar are important for best results when using Humulin . Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. If your blood sugar level is often higher than it should be and you are taking Humulin according to directions, check with your doctor.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes.
  • An insulin reaction resulting from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) may occur if you take too much insulin, skip a meal, or exercise too much. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.
  • Developing a fever or infection, eating significantly more than prescribed, or missing your dose of insulin may cause high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If not treated, loss of consciousness, coma, or death may occur. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Lab tests, such as fasting blood glucose levels or glycosylated hemoglobin levels, may be performed while you use Humulin . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Humulin while you are pregnant. It is not known if Humulin is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Humulin , check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Humulin :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Depression in the skin; enlargement of thickening of the skin; redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; headache; increased hunger; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; sweating; tremor; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm) or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; headache; increased heartbeat; increased hunger; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; shakiness; sweating; tremor; vision changes; weakness.

Proper storage of Humulin :

Store insulin in a cold place, preferably in a refrigerator. Do not allow it to freeze. If refrigeration is not possible, the bottle of insulin that you are currently using can be kept unrefrigerated as long as it is kept as cool as possible (below 86 degrees F [30 degrees C]) and away from heat and light. Protect insulin from direct sunlight. Read the information that came with your insulin for instructions on how to store your open container, including when to discard that insulin container you are currently using. The length of time a package of insulin may be used depends on whether it is in a vial, cartridge, pen, or other device. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about how to properly store or when to discard your insulin. Do not use a bottle of insulin after the expiration date stamped on the label. Keep Humulin , as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Humulin , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Humulin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Humulin . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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