Humulin U

Generic Name: insulin zinc suspension, extended (IN-su-lin)
Brand Name: Humulin U

Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changes in purity, strength, brand (manufacturer), type (regular, NPH, lente), species (beef, pork, beef-pork, human), and/or method of manufacture may result in the need for a change in dosage. If an adjustment is needed, it may occur with the first dose or during the first several weeks or months.


Humulin U is used for:

Treating diabetes mellitus.

Humulin U is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is necessary for the body's correct use of food, especially sugar. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to meet your body's needs. Insulin helps to keep your blood glucose at a nearly normal level.

Do NOT use Humulin U if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Humulin U
  • you are having an episode of low blood sugar

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Prediabetes - Am I at Risk?

Before using Humulin U:

Some medical conditions may interact with Humulin U. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you consume alcoholic beverages

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Humulin U. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Diltiazem, gemfibrozil, or tocolytics (eg, ritodrine) because they may decrease Humulin U's effectiveness
  • Beta-blockers (eg, metoprolol, propranolol), ethanol, fenfluramine, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), penicillamine, salicylates (eg, aspirin), or tetracyclines because side effects, such as low blood sugar, may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Humulin U may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Humulin U:

Use Humulin U as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • If you will be using Humulin U at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Humulin U. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • This bottle must be carefully shaken or rotated before each injection so that the contents are evenly mixed. Insulin zinc should look uniformly cloudy or milky.
  • Do not use Humulin U if it contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Be sure you have purchased the correct insulin. Insulin comes in a variety of containers, including vials, cartridges, and pens. Make sure that you understand how to properly measure and prepare your dose. If you have any questions about measuring and preparing your dose, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for information.
  • Humulin U begins lowering blood sugar about 4 to 8 hours after an injection. The peak effect occurs from 10 to 30 hours after the dose. The effect lasts for about 36 hours.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do NOT miss any doses. Ask your doctor for specific instructions to follow in case you ever miss a dose of insulin.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Humulin U.

Important safety information:

  • Humulin U may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Humulin U with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol without discussing it with your doctor.
  • Inject each dose of insulin in a different area to prevent skin irritation.
  • Illness, especially with nausea and vomiting, may cause your insulin requirements to change. Even if you are not eating, you still require insulin. You and your doctor should establish a sick day plan to use in case of illness. When you are sick, test your blood/urine frequently and call your doctor as instructed.
  • If you will be traveling across more than 2 time zones, consult your doctor concerning adjustments in your insulin schedule.
  • Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular testing of blood sugar are important for best results when using Humulin U. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. If your blood sugar level is often higher than it should be and you are taking Humulin U according to directions, check with your doctor.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes.
  • An insulin reaction resulting from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) may occur if you use too much insulin, skip a meal, or exercise too much. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.
  • Developing a fever or infection, eating significantly more than prescribed, or missing your dose of insulin may cause high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Lab tests, such as fasting blood glucose levels or hemoglobin A1c, may be performed while you use Humulin U. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Humulin U while you are pregnant. It is not known if Humulin U is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Humulin U, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Humulin U:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Depression in the skin; enlargement of thickening of the skin; redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; headache; increased heartbeat; increased hunger; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; sweating; tremor; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/) or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; headache; increased heartbeat; increased hunger; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; shakiness; sweating; tremor; vision changes; weakness.

Proper storage of Humulin U:

Store insulin in a cold place, preferably in a refrigerator. Do not allow it to freeze. If refrigeration is not possible, the bottle of insulin that you are currently using can be kept unrefrigerated as long as it is kept as cool as possible (below 86 degrees F; 30 degrees C) and away from heat and light. Protect insulin from direct sunlight. Read the information that came with your insulin for instructions on how to store your open container, including when to discard the insulin container you are currently using. The length of time a package of insulin may be used for depends on whether it is in a vial, cartridge, pen, or other device. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about how to properly store or when to discard your insulin. Do not use a bottle of insulin after the expiration date stamped on the label. Keep Humulin U, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Humulin U, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Humulin U is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Humulin U. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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