What are Humulin N vials?
Humulin N vials are vials filled with Humulin-N, which is the trade name of insulin isophane, otherwise known as NPH insulin, which is used to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It has been produced through genetic engineering, and is different from animal source insulin because it is structurally identical to the naturally occurring human insulin produced by your body. It is an intermediate-acting insulin with a slower onset of action than Regular insulin and a longer duration of activity. Humulin-N is a sterile suspension containing insulin isophane for subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. It is available in 10 mL vials.
What is it used for?
Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin administered subcutaneously (under the skin) that is used for the treatment of insulin requiring diabetic patients.
How does it work?
Humulin N is the brand name of insulin isophane, or NPH insulin. This type of insulin is an intermediate-acting insulin, which is sometimes called basal, or background insulin, because it provides a long duration of insulin protection against your blood sugar level fluctuations throughout the entire day. After subcutaneous (under the skin) injection once or twice a day it typically begins to work in 90 minutes and lasts for approximately 24 hours. Humulin-N is structurally identical to naturally occurring human insulin, but it is mixed small proteins called protamines to help slow down the onset and increase the duration of insulin action.
Like all insulin analogs, Humulin-N simulates the activity of naturally occurring human insulin, which is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin decreases the amount of sugar in your blood and urine by increasing the absorption of sugar from your blood into various tissues in your body, such as the liver, muscles, and fat. To help control your diabetes, your doctor has prescribed you injections of insulin to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level and to keep your urine as free of sugar as possible.
Common negative effects may include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Less common negative effects may include:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
- Insulin allergy
- Lipoatrophy, lipohypertrophy
Hypoglycemia is the most common side effect of all insulin products. Your blood sugar should be carefully monitored. Uncorrected low blood sugar reactions can cause a loss of consciousness, coma or even death.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur if your body has not enough insulin, such as if you forget your insulin dose or take less than than you should, eat a lot more than your diet calls for, or develop a fever or infection. Symptoms come on slowly and may include a flushed face, thirst, loss of appetite and feeling drowsy. Having a quick pulse and heavy breathing are signs of more serious symptoms. If left untreated it can result in the loss of consciousness, coma, or even death. If you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important that you get medical assistance immediately.
A generalized allergy to insulin may cause a rash over your entire body, wheezing, shortness of breath, sweating, reduction in blood pressure or fast pulse. Generalized allergy reactions may be serious and require hospitalization. If you think you may be having a generalized allergic reaction to Humulin N, contact your doctor immediately.
Rarely, the subcutaneous injection of insulin can result in lipoatrophy, which is the local loss of fat around the injection site, or lipohypertrophy, which is the abnormal accumulation of fat underneath the surface of the skin. If you experience either of these conditions, contact your doctor. Changing your subcutaneous injection technique may help eliminate these problems.
How to take this medication
Humulin N should only be used if your doctor has prescribed you NPH insulin (insulin isophane). Humulin-N is a suspension which should be administered by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection only, preferably by yourself. Suitable subcutaneous administration sites are; thighs, the upper arms, abdomen or buttocks. Injection sites should be switched so that one same site is not used more than approximately once a month. Make sure that blood vessel, or muscle tissue has not been entered. Also, the injection site should not be massaged afterwards.
If you are a new patient receiving insulin for the first time you can be started on Humulin N in the same manner as you would be on animal-source insulin. You should be monitored closely during the adjustment period.
If switching from animal-source insulin to Humulin-N, it is possible that you will require a change in dosage; the adjustment may be made with the first dose or over a period of several weeks. Any change in insulin should be made cautiously and only under your doctor’s supervision.
Warnings and Precautions
The drug should not be used:
- If you have any allergies to this drug or any of the ingredients used to formulate this medication
- During episodes of hypoglycemia (too little sugar in the blood)
- For treatment of diabetic coma
- If after re-suspending, there are clumps floating in the insulin, or if solid white particles stick to the bottom or side of the vial giving it a frosted appearance
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