GENERIC NAME: INSULIN - INJECTION (IN-sue-lin)
BRAND NAME(S): Humulin, Iletin I NPH, Novolin
HOW TO USE: Insulin must be injected. Learn the proper way to inject insulin. Check the dose carefully. Clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. Change the injection site daily to prevent skin bulges or pockets. Do not inject cold insulin. The insulin container you are currently using can be kept at room temperature. The length of time you can store it at room temp. depends on the product. Consult your pharmacist. Insulin is frequently injected 30 minutes before a meal. Some inject at bedtime. Ask your pharmacist or nurse for details of injecting insulin as it varies depending on your insulin treatment plan. Monitor your urine or blood sugar as prescribed. Keep track of your results. This is very important in order to determine the correct insulin dose. Follow all of your doctor's directions carefully.
SIDE EFFECTS: Insulin may cause minor and usually temporary side effects such as rash, irritation or redness at the injection site. To help prevent hypoglycemia, eat meals on a regular schedule. Too much insulin can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The symptoms include cold sweat, shaking, rapid heart rate, weakness, headache and fainting which, if untreated, may lead to slurred speech and other behaviors that resemble drunkenness. If you experience these symptoms, eat a quick source of sugar such as glucose (glutose, etc.) table sugar, orange juice, honey or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor about the reaction. Too little insulin can cause symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) which include confusion, drowsiness, rapid breathing, fruity breath odor, increased urination or unusual thirst. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor. Your insulin dose needs adjustment. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
PRECAUTIONS: Tell your doctor if you have had allergic reactions, especially to beef, pork or human insulin and of your medical history especially of: thyroid problems, kidney or liver disease, any current infection. Dosage adjustments may be required when you become ill, are under stress, or when quitting smoking. Consult your doctor if you catch a cold or the flu, become nauseated or if your blood glucose levels are high. Fat deposits can occur if injection site is not rotated. Check your sugar readings before and after exercise. You may need a snack beforehand. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this drug. Insulin is not excreted into breast milk. Nevertheless, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Before you use insulin, tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking especially: beta-blockers (acebutolol, atenolol, betaxolol, esmolol, metoprolol, carteolol, nadolol, penbutolol, pindolol, propranolol, timolol, bisoprolol), fenfluramine, MAO inhibitors (e.g., furazolidone, linezolid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine), salicylates (aspirin-like compounds), dexfenfluramine, steroids (e.g., prednisone, hydrocortisone), birth control pills, sulfa antibiotics, water pills, ACE inhibitors, octreotide, isoniazid, niacin, estrogens, cold and allergy drugs, drugs that contain alcohol or sugar. Other medications can affect the action of insulin and can alter the results of urine tests for sugar or ketones. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents should call their local poison control center directly. Symptoms of overdose may include unconsciousness, seizures, muscle weakness, slow or shallow breathing, headache, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, shakiness, nervousness, fast heartbeat, hunger, or sweating.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. It is recommended you attend a diabetes education program to understand diabetes and all important aspects of its treatment including meals/diet, exercise, personal hygiene, medications and getting regular eye, foot and medical exams. Consult your doctor or pharmacist. Keep all medical appointments. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver and kidney function tests, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, complete blood counts) will be performed to monitor for side effects and response to therapy. Regularly check your blood or urine for sugar, as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
MISSED DOSE: It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do not miss any doses of insulin. Discuss specific instructions with your doctor now, in case you miss a dose of insulin in the future.
STORAGE: Insulin may be stored under refrigeration up to the expiration date noted on the package and must be discarded after that date. Consult your pharmacist for the storage requirements of your particular form/type of insulin, including room temperature storage options. Do not expose insulin to heat or sunlight. Do not freeze.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.