PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY:
- Insulin is the drug of choice for controlling diabetes during pregnancy, that is, it is preferred over oral drugs to reduce blood sugar. NPH, insulin aspart, insulin detemir, and insulin lispro also are used during pregnancy.
- Insulins are considered safe to use by nursing mothers.
- Unopened insulin should be stored between 2 C and 8 C (36 F and 46 F); it should not be placed in a freezer.
- Insulin vials that are being used can be kept at room temperature for up to a month.
- All vials should be protected from sunlight and excessive heat.
- Unused insulin should be thrown away after the expiration date.
- The vials should never be shaken.
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM:
- Insulin is a naturally-occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is required by the cells of the body in order for them to remove and use glucose from the blood. Cells use glucose to produce energy that they need to carry out their functions. Researchers first gave an active extract of the pancreas containing insulin to a young diabetic patient in 1922, and the FDA first approved insulin in 1939. Currently, insulin used for treatment is derived from beef and pork pancreas as well as recombinant (man-made) technology. The first recombinant human insulin was approved by the FDA in 1982.
- People with diabetes mellitus have a reduced ability to take up and use glucose from the blood, and, as a result, the glucose level in the blood rises. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. Therefore, insulin therapy is needed. In type 2 diabetes, patients produce insulin, but cells throughout the body do not respond normally to the insulin. Nevertheless, insulin also may be used in type 2 diabetes to overcome the resistance of the cells to insulin. By increasing the uptake of glucose by cells and reducing the concentration of glucose in the blood, insulin prevents or reduces the long-term complications of diabetes, including damage to the blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Insulin is administered by injection under the skin (subcutaneously). The subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen is preferred because absorption of the insulin is more consistent from this location than subcutaneous tissues in other locations.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideType 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication
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