If you have type 1 diabetes, you require life-long insulin diabetes therapy.

Diabetes management can be overwhelming when first diagnosed. Take one day at a time and bear in mind that you aren’t alone. Maintain a close, working relationship with your physician to help you keep your glucose levels within the normal range. Share your fears with a diabetes management team, and remember that if others have managed to live healthy lives with the same condition, why not you? Your doctor will prescribe you with an insulin drug like Humulin; however, you may experience its side effects.

What is Humulin insulin used for?

Humulin is a brand name for different types of human insulin used to lower blood glucose levels. Each type of Humulin works differently, as the peak activity time isn’t the same for each product. This is explained below:

  1. Humulin R – It is a regular, fast or short-acting insulin. It is taken before meals, preferably 30 minutes before eating food, and it doesn’t act quite as quickly as rapid-acting insulin. It is given through a syringe or an insulin pen. When injected, it helps in curbing the rise of blood glucose levels too much after eating. The medication’s activity peaks two to four hours after the shot. The peak in activity, in this context, means the time when the drug is most effective in your body. It will work for a maximum of 12 hours, and it’s often combined with long-acting insulin. It’s advisable to look out for negative side effects, which may be minor or major in the course of this medication’s use.
  2. Humulin N – It falls under the class of insulin known as intermediate-acting insulin, or NPN (N), and it’s used together with regular or rapid-acting insulin. It gets to its peak activity approximately eight hours after taking it, and the duration of its activity is 12 to 16 hours on average, although this can vary from one patient to another. It’s generally injected twice daily to keep the blood glucose levels stable between meals, although the patient is at risk of unwanted side effects.
  3. Humulin 70/30 – It is a pre-mixed formulation containing 70 percent Humulin N and 30 percent Humulin R. This insulin works for almost 24 hours. For some, this medication is more convenient because it works for an entire day, and it’s a combination of regular insulin and intermediate acting. Once injected, two different activity peaks will be experienced: one will occur two hours after the injection of the neutral acting insulin and second will take place after about 10 hours as a result of the intermediate-acting insulin. Just like in any other medication, possible Humulin 70/30 side effects may occur.

It’s important to note that the length of time it takes for Humulin to get into the bloodstream, and the period it remains active, will vary from one patient to another. After being on any of the above drugs for a couple of weeks, you may begin to better understand how it works for you, including how long it takes for the injection to start to work and how long it stays in your blood stream by checking and recording blood sugar levels at home. If the medication is not right for you, your doctor may change the timing of your injections, or the dose, or they may change your medication altogether.

The injection area may affect Humulin insulin absorption. Shots administered into the abdomen or the arm get into the bloodstream more rapidly than injections on the hip or thigh. Additionally, the depth of the shot can also affect the absorption rate, although this is usually less of a concern if you are using an injection pen. Still, your dosage will affect the rate of absorption, as well as the peak activity: the larger the dose, the longer the absorption time; smaller doses last less time. While on the medication, as earlier mentioned, one is at risk of experiencing Humulin side effects.

Humulin side effects

Along with its desired effects, the side effects of Humulin can affect people differently as well. The negative effects of this medication may be mild, common, or severe. Before the doctor puts you on this medication, be sure to discuss the negative side effects, such as:

  • Injection site reactions like pain, swelling, and redness in the injection area
  • Skin thickening at the injection spot
  • Rash
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Allergic reactions like trouble breathing and sweating
  • Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
  • Low potassium
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

The listed negative effects are not a comprehensive list. For more information on the unwanted effects, consult your doctor. If you encounter severe negative effects, contact your physician immediately. On the other hand, if the negative effects are mild they may go away as the body gets used to the insulin, but if they continue to be irritating, however, seek medical attention.

Important Information

  1. Don’t use this medication if you experience or are experiencing low blood sugar. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are confusion, blurred vision, sweating, tremor, and trouble concentrating. Always carry glucose tablets just in case hypoglycemia occurs.
  2. Lab tests may be performed to monitor how you are responding to the medicine or to detect side effects of Humulin 70/30.
  3. If you become pregnant while on this medication, inform your medical practitioner. You can discuss the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy as blood sugar control is important to prevent pregnancy complications.
  4. The drug should be used with caution in the elderly and children since they may be more sensitive to Humulin unwanted effects.
  5. Carry an identification badge that indicates you are diabetic, as well as the drugs you are currently taking.
  6. Humulin N side effects like dizziness and drowsiness can occur, and consuming alcohol can make these worse. Avoid taking alcohol while taking this medication.
  7. Before receiving dental care, surgery, or emergency care, you should inform the doctor of your condition and the medication you are taking.
  8. If you suddenly become ill and experience nausea and vomiting, contact your physician as your insulin may need to be adjusted.

In Conclusion

Watch out for Humulin side effects and seek your doctor’s opinion if you need more information. Remember, physical exercise and healthy eating is vital to control glucose levels effectively.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.