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All about: Novolin N PenFill

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Generic Name: insulin isophane (IN suh lin EYE sew fane)
Brand Names: Humulin N, Humulin N Pen, Iletin II NPH Pork, Insulin Purified NPH Pork, Novolin N, Novolin N Innolet, Novolin N PenFill

What is Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas. Insulin enables the body to use the sugar in food as a source of energy. When the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin produced by the body is not effective enough, the condition is called diabetes mellitus. This condition allows sugar levels in the blood to become very high. Diabetics must use man-made insulin or insulin that comes from pigs (which is very similar to human insulin) to lower these high blood sugar levels.

Insulin isophane is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Insulin isophane may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which include shaking; nausea; headache; drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; fast heartbeat; sweating; pale, cool skin; anxiety; and difficulty concentrating. Carry a piece of candy or glucose tablets with you to treat episodes of low blood sugar.

Follow any diet and exercise plan that you have developed with your doctor or nurse. Changes in what you eat or how much you exercise can change the amount of insulin that you need to control blood sugar levels.

Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if you are sick with a cold, flu, or fever. These illnesses may change your insulin requirements.

Do not change the brand of insulin isophane or syringe that you are using without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist. Some brands of insulin isophane and syringes are interchangeable, while others are not. Your doctor and/or pharmacist know which brands can be substituted for one another.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Do not use insulin isophane if you are allergic to insulin or if you have intolerance to a certain insulin isophane product.

Before using insulin, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions or if you take other prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements.

Before using insulin isophane, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease. You may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Most insulins can be used during pregnancy and breast-feeding. They are not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. It is very important to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy and breast-feeding and insulin is often chosen as the treatment. Some types of insulin may be better than others for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Talk to your doctor about the use of insulin during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

How should I use Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Use insulin isophane exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain them to you.

If the insulin has been stored in the refrigerator, it can be warmed to room temperature before use.

Roll the container of insulin between your palms 10 times. Then, if you are using a pen or prefilled syringe, turn it upside down so that the glass ball moves from one end to the other. Do this at least 10 times. Repeat this procedure until the suspension appears uniformly white and cloudy. Do not shake the insulin vigorously. Inject immediately. Repeat this procedure before each subsequent injection.

Do not use the insulin if it is discolored, has particles in it, or looks different from previous vials, cartridges, or prefilled syringes of insulin isophane.

If you are mixing different types of insulins in the same syringe, follow your doctor's directions and always draw up the different insulins in the same order (usually the clear insulin first). Do not mix different insulins in the same syringe unless specifically directed to do so by your doctor.

Rotate injection sites as directed by your doctor. Usually, you should not inject within 1 inch of the same site within 1 month.

Never reuse a needle or syringe. Dispose of all needles and syringes in an appropriate, puncture-resistant disposal container.

Do not change the insulin strength (e.g., U-100) or insulin type (e.g., isophane, NPH, regular, etc.) unless your doctor recommends a change for you.

Do not change the brand of insulin isophane or syringe that you are using without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist. Some brands of insulin and syringes are interchangeable, while others are not.

Follow any diet and exercise plan that you have developed with your doctor or nurse. Changes in what you eat or how much you exercise can change the amount of insulin that you need to control your blood sugar levels.

Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if you are sick with a cold, flu, or fever. These illnesses may change your insulin requirements.

Your healthcare provider may recommend regular monitoring of blood sugar levels with blood or urine tests.

Wear some type of medical identification bracelet, necklace, or other alert tag to inform others that you have diabetes and that you require insulin in the case of an emergency.

Proper foot care, eye care, dental care, and overall proper health care are important for people with diabetes. Visit your doctor, dentist, eye doctor, and other heath care practitioners as recommended by your doctor.

Store unopened vials, pens, and cartridges of insulin isophane in the refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 and 8 degrees Celsius), in the original carton. Do not store insulin isophane in the freezer and do not allow it to freeze. Do not use insulin isophane if it has been frozen. Throw away any expired insulin isophane. Vials of insulin isophane can be kept unrefrigerated for up to 28 days, but should not be exposed to excessive heat or sunlight.

Once punctured, the vial of insulin in use, whether stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, must be used within 28 days. Throw away any unused insulin 28 days after the vial is first punctured.

Insulin cartridges and pens in use, should be stored at room temperature (below 86 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius away from direct heat or sunlight), but should not be exposed to excessive heat or sunlight. Novolin N PenFill, Humulin N Pens and Novolin N Innolets in use can be kept unrefrigerated for 14 days. Throw away any unused insulin in the cartridge, pen, or Innolet after the specified time period.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Follow your doctor's directions if you miss a dose of insulin. To prevent missed doses, be sure to always have enough insulin on hand, especially if you are going on vacation.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of an insulin overdose reflect very low blood sugar levels and include headache, irregular heartbeat, increased heart rate or pulse, sweating, tremor, nausea, increased hunger, and anxiety.

What should I avoid while using Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Do not use alcohol without first talking to your doctor. It lowers blood sugar, and you may experience dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane) side effects

Rarely, people have allergic reactions to insulin. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

The side effects of insulin therapy result mostly from blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low. You should be familiar with the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar levels and know how to treat both conditions. Also, be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

Low blood sugar may occur when too much insulin is used; when meals are missed or delayed; if you exercise more than usual; during illness, especially with vomiting or diarrhea; if you take other medications; after drinking alcohol; and in other situations.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, has the following symptoms: shaking; nausea; headache; drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; fast heartbeat; sweating; pale, cool skin; anxiety; and difficulty concentrating.

Keep sugary candy, fruit juice, or glucose tablets on hand to treat episodes of low blood sugar.

Increased blood sugar may occur if not enough insulin is used, if you eat significantly more food then usual, if you exercise less than usual, if you take other medications, if you have a fever or other illness, and in other situations.

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, has the following symptoms: increased thirst, increased hunger, and increased urination.

Monitor your blood sugar levels and ask your doctor how to adjust your insulin doses if your blood sugar levels are too high.

Side effects may also occur at the site of injection. If the area becomes thickened, hard, or pitted, talk to your doctor before injecting at that site again.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Novolin N PenFill (insulin isophane)?

Many drugs can interact with insulin or affect blood sugar levels. Do not take any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist during treatment with insulin.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about insulin isophane written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Insulin isophane is available under the brand names Humulin N, Novolin N, Iletin II NPH Pork, and Insulin Purified NPH Pork. The insulin should be a clear, colorless or evenly colored liquid after it is gently rolled or shaken. Do not use it if it appears to be thick, looks sticky, has particles in it, or looks different from previous bottles, pens, or cartridges of insulin isophane. Always use the same brand unless your doctor recommends a change. Ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor any questions you have about this medication.

  • Humulin N U-100-10 mL vials

  • Humulin N U-100-1.5 mL cartridges

  • Humulin N U-100-3 mL disposable pens

  • Novolin N U-100-10 mL vials

  • Novolin N U-100-1.5 mL PenFill cartridges

  • Novolin N U-100-3 mL PenFill cartridges

  • Novolin N U-100-1.5 mL Prefilled syringes

  • Insulin Purified NPH Pork U-100-10 mL vials

  • Iletin II NPH Pork U-100-10 mL vials

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02. Revision Date: 1/11/06 8:43:51 AM.

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