What are Humalog Cartridges?
Humalog cartridges are filled with Insulin Lispro which is a fast acting man-made insulin. Insulin analogs are man-made used for the treatment of diabetes. Insulin Lispro is a fast acting insulin which is sometimes called a mealtime, or bolus insulin. This is because it is designed for use just prior to eating a meal to help prevent the fluctuations in your blood sugar levels that occur during and after a meal. Compared to naturally occurring human insulin, Insulin Lispro has a shorter onset of action so you have a shorter waiting period after injection before starting your meal.
How does it work?
Humalog (Insulin Lispro) is a man-made fast-acting insulin analog created using genetic engineering. It is very similar in structure to naturally occurring human insulin. The minor modifications in structure give Insulin Lispro a rapid absorption and shorter delay of onset compared to naturally occurring insulin. It starts to work about 15 minutes after subcutaneous (under the skin) injection, achieving peak blood levels 30-70 minutes after, and lasts about two to five hours. It should be taken 15 minutes before your meal and, if necessary may be taken right after a meal within 20 minutes of the beginning of the meal).
Insulin Lispro’s mode of action is very similar to that of naturally occurring insulin. It is a hormone that controls your blood sugar levels by regulating the breakdown of food (sugars, fats and proteins) and promotes the absorption of sugar from the blood into your fat, liver and musculoskeletal cells.
What is it used for?
Humalog cartridges are filled with Insulin Lispro used along with the Humalog KwikPen, which is used in the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults and children. There is some evidence that it is also effective in preventing diabetic neuropathy, cardiovascular disease and diabetic nephropathy although it has not been approved officially for of any of these issues. Insulin Lispro is indicated for the initial stabilization of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and also for the long-term maintenance of blood sugar levels. Since it is fast-acting (begins to work in 15 minutes) and with a short duration (up to 5 hours) it should be supplemented with a long-acting insulin, like Humulin N for full-day blood sugar level protection.
Always follow your doctor’s directions about your dose amount and dosing schedule. Every case of diabetes is unique that’s why your schedule has been individualized specifically for you and your insulin needs. Your normal dose may be effected by changes the food you eat, your activity level, or work schedule. Other factors that may effect your dosing are pregnancy, other medications, illness, travel and exercise. Always follow your doctor’s directions carefully.
You should administer your dose within 15 minutes of the start of your meal or right after your meal (within 20 minutes). The subcutaneous (under the skin) injection sites are; the tissue of the abdomen, buttocks, thigh or upper arm. To reduce the risk of lipodystrophy remember to change or rotate your injection site between doses. In order to get a full day’s worth of blood sugar level protection coverage it is recommended that you supplement your Humalog Insulin Lispro with an intermediate- or long-acting insulin such as Humulin N (insulin isophane [NPH]).
How to take this medication
Humalog Insulin Lispro has a fast onset so it is recommended to be taken 15 minutes before the beginning of your meal, and if needed up to 20 minutes after the start of your meal.
Do not use the product if it looks cloudy, thickened, or colored even slightly, or if there are any solid particles visible. Only use it if it is a clear, and colorless solution.
If you are mixing it with a longer acting insulin, the shorter acting insulin has to be drawn into the syringe first then followed by the longer acting insulin. Mixing both of the insulin before the injection should be only on advice of your doctor.
Common negative effects may include:
- Injection site reactions
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Less common negative effects may include:
The most common side effect of all insulin products, including Insulin Lispro, is low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
- fast heartbeat,
- blurred vision,
- trouble concentrating or seizures (convulsion).
Injection site reactions are also commonly reported side-effects. Itching, swelling and redness can occur at the injection site, but they usually go away in several days or weeks. It may also be related to such things as impurities in your cleansing products or because of an improper injection technique, rather than the Insulin Lispro itself.
Hypokalemia which is the drop of potassium (K+) levels in the blood has also been reported with some patients. Symptoms of which may include weakness, feeling tired, constipation and leg cramps.
Another reported side-effect is lipodystrophy which can be either lipoatrophy, which is the localized loss of fat tissue around the injection site, or lipohypertrophy, which is the accumulation of fat around the injection site. A more serious side effect may be anaphylaxis, which is a generalized allergic reaction.
Warnings and Precautions
Do not use Humalog Insulin Lispro if your blood sugar level is too low (hypoglycemia). Once you have treated your low blood sugar, you should follow your doctor’s directions on how to use your Humulog Insulin Lispro. Your blood sugar can be affected by stress, medical procedures (like surgery), illness, exercise, drinking alcohol, or skipping meals. Never change your insulin dose or schedule without consulting your doctor beforehand.
Do not use Humalog Insulin Lispro if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the Humalog cartridge.
You should never share your syringe, cartridge or injection pen with anyone even if the needle has been changed.
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