Humulin is a brand of insulin used to treat diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or their bodies cannot effectively use the insulin they produce.

How Does Humulin Work?

Humulin contains human insulin, which is identical to the insulin produced naturally by the body. It works by replacing the insulin that the body is unable to create or use properly. By injecting Humulin, patients can help control their blood sugar levels and prevent complications associated with diabetes.

Humulin Mixes

  • Humulin R: Humulin R is a short-acting insulin that typically begins to work within 30 minutes after injection. It peaks in effectiveness around 2 to 4 hours and continues to work for approximately 6 to 8 hours. Humulin R is commonly used to control blood sugar levels during mealtimes.
  • Humulin N: Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin that starts to work within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It reaches its peak effectiveness in approximately 4 to 12 hours and can last up to 18 hours. Humulin N is often used to provide basal insulin coverage throughout the day and night.
  • Humulin 30/70: Humulin 30/70 is a premixed combination of 30% Humulin R and 70% Humulin N. This formulation provides both short-acting and intermediate-acting insulin in one injection. It offers the convenience of a single injection while providing coverage for both mealtime and basal insulin needs.

Humulin Products

  • Humulin Vial: Humulin is available in vial form, which contains a liquid solution of insulin. Vials are typically used with syringes for administering insulin injections. They offer flexibility in dosing and are suitable for patients who require customized insulin regimens.
  • Humulin Kwikpen: Humulin Kwikpen is a prefilled insulin pen device that contains a cartridge of insulin. It provides a convenient and discreet way to administer insulin injections, particularly for patients who require multiple daily injections. The Kwikpen is easy to use and offers precise dosing with adjustable dose settings.
  • Humulin Cartridges: Humulin cartridges are prefilled insulin cartridges designed for use with reusable insulin pen devices. They contain a specific amount of insulin and are compatible with various pen devices available on the market. Cartridges offer the convenience of prefilled insulin doses and are suitable for patients who prefer pen devices for insulin administration.

Precautions and Warnings With Humulin

  • Hypoglycemia: Humulin can cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), particularly if the dose is too high or if meals are missed or delayed.
  • Hyperglycemia: Insufficient insulin dosing or missed doses can lead to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
  • Injection Site Reactions: Insulin injections may cause local skin reactions at the injection site, such as redness, swelling, or itching.
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Humulin, characterized by symptoms such as rash, itching, or difficulty breathing.
  • Hypokalemia: Insulin therapy can lead to a decrease in potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia).

Humulin Side Effects

While Humulin is generally well-tolerated, like any medication, it may cause side effects in some individuals. Side effects associated with Humulin may include:

  • Signs of Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar):
    • Anxiety
    • Blurred vision
    • Confusion
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness
    • Drowsiness
    • Fast heartbeat
    • Headache
    • Hunger
    • Nausea
    • Nervousness
    • Numbness or tingling of the lips, fingers, or tongue
    • Sweating
    • Tiredness
    • Trembling
    • Weakness
  • Signs of Hypokalemia (Low Potassium Levels):
    • Weakness
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle cramps
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Swollen joints
    • Vision changes

Drug Interactions With Humulin

Humulin may interact with other medications, supplements, or substances, potentially affecting its effectiveness or increasing the risk of adverse effects. Some notable drug interactions with Humulin include:

  • Acetylsalicylic Acid (ASA)
  • Anabolic Steroids (e.g., testosterone)
  • Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE Inhibitors) (e.g., ramipril, enalapril, lisinopril)
  • Anti-psychotics (e.g., clozapine, olanzapine, Seroquel)
  • Beta-blockers (e.g., Tenormin, metoprolol, pindolol, propranolol, sotalol)
  • Birth Control Pills (Yaz, Seasonique)
  • Buserelin
  • Corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, prednisolone)
  • Danazol
  • Diabetes Medications (e.g., acarbose, Invokana, glyburide, lixisenatide, metformin, rosiglitazone, sitagliptin)
  • Disopyramide
  • Diuretics (Water Pills) (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
  • Epinephrine
  • Estrogens (e.g., conjugated estrogen, Vagifem, ethinyl estradiol)
  • Glucagon
  • Goserelin
  • Growth Hormone
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, Norvir)
  • Hepatitis C Antivirals (e.g., ledipasvir, velpatasvir)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Lanreotide
  • Leuprolide
  • Linezolid
  • Mifepristone
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) (e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine)
  • Niacin
  • Octreotide
  • Pasireotide
  • Pegvisomant
  • Pentamidine
  • Progestins (e.g., Visanne, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, norethindrone)
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors (e.g., dabrafenib, nilotinib, sunitinib)
  • Quinine
  • Quinolone Antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
  • Salicylates (e.g., ASA)
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) (e.g., citalopram, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft)
  • Somatostatin
  • Somatropin
  • Sulfa Antibiotics (e.g., sulfamethoxazole)
  • Tacrolimus
  • Tramadol
  • Vilazodone
  • Vorinostat

Humulin Strengths and Dosages

  • Humulin R: Available in vials and prefilled pens, Humulin R typically comes in concentrations of 100 units/mL. Dosage recommendations for Humulin R may vary depending on factors such as the patient’s insulin sensitivity, carbohydrate intake, and blood sugar levels.
  • Humulin N: Humulin N is available in vials and prefilled pens, usually in concentrations of 100 units/mL. Dosage recommendations for Humulin N are tailored to provide basal insulin coverage throughout the day and night, with adjustments made based on the patient’s individual insulin requirements.
  • Humulin 30/70: Humulin 30/70 is a premixed combination of Humulin R and Humulin N, available in vials and prefilled pens. It offers both short-acting and intermediate-acting insulin in one injection, simplifying dosing for patients who require both mealtime and basal insulin coverage.

Humulin Alternatives

While Humulin is a widely used and effective insulin therapy for managing diabetes, there are alternative insulin products available that may be suitable for some patients:

  • Other Insulin Brands: In addition to Humulin, there are several other insulin brands available on the market, such as Novolin, Lantus, Levemir, and NovoLog. Each brand offers different formulations and delivery methods, allowing healthcare providers to tailor treatment regimens to individual patient needs.
  • Insulin Analogues: Insulin analogues are synthetic insulins that have been modified to mimic the body’s natural insulin secretion more closely. Examples of insulin analogues include insulin lispro (Humalog), insulin aspart (NovoLog), and insulin glargine (Lantus). These analogues may offer advantages such as faster onset of action, longer duration of action, and reduced risk of hypoglycemia compared to traditional human insulins like Humulin.
  • Non-Insulin Medications: In addition to insulin therapy, there are several non-insulin medications available for managing diabetes, such as oral antidiabetic agents (e.g., metformin, sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors) and injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists. These medications may be used alone or in combination with insulin therapy to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications.

FAQs of Humulin

What’s the difference between Humulin N and R?

Humulin N and Humulin R are two different types of insulin with distinct characteristics. Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin, also known as NPH insulin, which typically starts working within 1 to 2 hours after injection, peaks in about 4 to 12 hours, and lasts for about 18 to 24 hours. Conversely, Humulin R is a short-acting insulin, also known as regular insulin, which starts working within 30 minutes after injection, peaks in about 2 to 4 hours, and lasts for about 6 to 8 hours.

How long does Humulin last?

The duration of action of Humulin depends on the specific formulation. Humulin N, an intermediate-acting insulin, typically lasts for about 18 to 24 hours after injection. Humulin R, a short-acting insulin, typically lasts for about 6 to 8 hours after injection.

How long is Humulin good for after first usage?

After first usage, Humulin should be stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions and used within the specified expiration date printed on the packaging. Once a vial or cartridge is opened and in use, it is typically good for up to 28 days when stored in the refrigerator.

How long does Humulin last in the body?

The duration of action of Humulin can vary depending on individual factors such as insulin sensitivity, dosage, and injection site. In general, Humulin N, an intermediate-acting insulin, may last for about 18 to 24 hours in the body, while Humulin R, a short-acting insulin, may last for about 6 to 8 hours.

When was Humulin invented?

Humulin, the first synthetic insulin, was invented by scientists at Eli Lilly and Company in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto. It was first introduced for clinical use in 1982, revolutionizing diabetes management and providing a life-saving treatment option for individuals with diabetes.

How to use Humulin Kwikpen?

Humulin Kwikpen is a prefilled insulin pen device designed for convenient and precise insulin delivery. To use Humulin Kwikpen, patients should follow the instructions provided by their healthcare provider or the product labeling. Generally, the steps include priming the pen, selecting the dose, injecting the insulin into the fatty tissue under the skin, and properly disposing of the pen needle after each use.

How is Humulin made?

Humulin is produced through recombinant DNA technology, where human insulin genes are inserted into bacterial or yeast cells. These genetically modified cells then produce human insulin, which is harvested, purified, and formulated into various insulin products. The manufacturing process involves rigorous quality control measures to ensure the safety, purity, and potency of the final insulin product.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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