insulin zinc

Generic Name: insulin zinc (IN suh lin ZINK)
Brand Name: Humulin L, Iletin Lente, Insulin Lente Pork, Novolin L, HumuLIN L, NovoLIN L, Iletin II Lente Pork

What is insulin zinc?

Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas. Insulin enables the body to use the sugar in food as a source of energy. When the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin produced by the body is not effective enough, the condition is called diabetes mellitus. This condition allows sugar levels in the blood to become very high. Diabetics must use man-made insulin or insulin that comes from pigs (which is very similar to human insulin) to lower these high blood sugar levels.

Insulin zinc is used is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Insulin zinc may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about insulin zinc?

Know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which include shaking; nausea; headache; drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; fast heartbeat; sweating; pale, cool skin; anxiety; and difficulty concentrating. Carry a piece of candy or glucose tablets with you to treat episodes of low blood sugar.

Slideshow: Prediabetes - Am I at Risk?

Follow any diet and exercise plan that you have developed with your doctor or nurse. Changes in what you eat or how much you exercise can change the amount of insulin that you need to control your blood sugar levels.

Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if you are sick with a cold, flu, or fever. These illnesses may change your insulin requirements.

Do not change the brand of insulin zinc or syringe that you are using without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist. Some brands of insulin and syringes are interchangeable, while others are not. Your doctor and/or pharmacist know which brands can be substituted for one another.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using insulin zinc?

Do not use insulin zinc if you are allergic to insulin or if you have intolerance to a certain insulin zinc product.

Before using insulin, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions or if you take other prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements.

Before using insulin zinc, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease. You may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Most insulins can be used during pregnancy and breast-feeding. They are not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. It is very important to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy and breast-feeding and insulin is often chosen as the treatment. Some types of insulin may be better than others for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Talk to your doctor about the use of insulin during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

How should I use insulin zinc?

Use insulin zinc exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain them to you.

If insulin zinc has been stored in the refrigerator, it can be warmed to room temperature before use. Also, roll it slightly between your hands to be sure that it is mixed. Never shake an insulin zinc suspension vigorously.

If you are mixing different types of insulins in the same syringe, follow your doctor's directions and always draw up the different insulins in the same order (usually the clear insulin first). This may help prevent a dosage error. Do not mix different insulins in the same syringe unless specifically directed to do so by your doctor. Some types of insulins should not be mixed.

Do not use any insulin that is discolored, looks thick, has particles in it, or looks different from previous bottles, cartridges, or pens of insulin zinc.

Change injection sites as directed by your doctor. Usually, you should not inject within 1 inch of the same site within 1 month.

Never reuse a needle or syringe. Dispose of all needles and syringes in an appropriate, puncture-resistant disposal container.

Do not change the insulin strength (e.g., U-100) or insulin type (e.g., zinc, regular, lispro, etc.) unless your doctor recommends a change for you.

Do not change the brand of insulin zinc or syringe that you are using without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist. Some brands of insulin zinc and syringes are interchangeable, while others are not. Your doctor and/or pharmacist know which brands can be substituted for one another.

Follow any diet and exercise plan that you have developed with your doctor or nurse. Changes in what you eat or how much you exercise can change the amount of insulin that you need to control your blood sugar levels.

Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if you are sick with a cold, flu, or fever. These illnesses may change your insulin requirements.

Your healthcare provider may recommend regular monitoring of blood sugar levels with blood or urine tests.

Wear some type of medical identification bracelet, necklace, or other alert tag to inform others that you have diabetes and that you require insulin in the case of an emergency.

Proper foot care, eye care, dental care, and overall proper health care are important for people with diabetes. Visit your doctor, dentist, eye doctor, and other heath care practitioners as recommended by your doctor.

Store unopened vials of insulin zinc the refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 and 8 degrees Celsius), in the original carton. Do not store insulin zinc in the freezer and do not allow it to freeze. Do not use insulin zinc if it has been frozen. Throw away any expired insulin zinc.

Vials of insulin zinc can be kept unrefrigerated for up to 28 days, but should not be exposed to excessive heat or sunlight.

Once punctured, the insulin vial in use, whether stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, must be used within 28 days. Throw away any unused insulin 28 days after the vial is first punctured.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Follow your doctor's directions if you miss a dose of insulin. To prevent missed doses, be sure to always have enough insulin on hand, especially if you are going on vacation.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of an insulin overdose reflect very low blood sugar levels and include headache, irregular heartbeat, increased heart rate or pulse, sweating, tremor, nausea, increased hunger, and anxiety.

What should I avoid while using insulin zinc?

Do not use alcohol without first talking to your doctor. It lowers blood sugar, and you may experience dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Follow any diet and exercise plan that you have developed with your doctor or nurse. Changes in what you eat or how much you exercise can change the amount of insulin you need to control your blood sugar levels.

Insulin zinc side effects

Rarely, people have allergic reactions to insulin. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

The side effects of insulin therapy result mostly from blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low. You should be familiar with the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar levels and know how to treat both conditions. Also, be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

Low blood sugar may occur when too much insulin is used; when meals are missed or delayed; if you exercise more than usual; during illness, especially with vomiting or diarrhea; if you take other medications; after drinking alcohol; and in other situations.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, has the following symptoms: shaking; nausea; headache; drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; fast heartbeat; sweating; pale, cool skin; anxiety; and difficulty concentrating.

Keep sugary candy, fruit juice, or glucose tablets on hand to treat episodes of low blood sugar.

Increased blood sugar may occur if not enough insulin is used, if you eat significantly more food then usual, if you exercise less than usual, if you take other medications, if you have a fever or other illness, and in other situations.

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, has the following symptoms: increased thirst, increased hunger, and increased urination.

Monitor your blood sugar levels and ask your doctor how to adjust your insulin doses if your blood sugar levels are too high.

Side effects may also occur at the site of injection. If the area becomes thickened, hard, or pitted, talk to your doctor before injecting at that site again.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Insulin zinc dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Gestational Diabetes:

Insulin zinc is an intermediate acting insulin which is injected subcutaneously 1 to 3 times daily. It may provide 30 to 50% of the daily basal insulin requirements.

Insulin dosage should be individualized to achieve/maintain a target blood glucose level and is determined by various factors including body weight, body fat, physical activity, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, and target blood glucose.

Conventional regimen: The total daily insulin dose is administered as a mixture of rapid/short-acting and intermediate-acting insulins in 1 to 2 injections. Twice daily injections are preferred for better glycemic control. With the 2-injection regimen, generally two-thirds of the daily dose is given before breakfast and one-third is given before the evening meal.

Intensive regimen: The total daily dose is administered as 3 or more injections or by continuous subcutaneous infusion to cover basal and pre-meal bolus insulin requirements. The basal requirement is approximately 30 to 50% of the total dose, given as intermediate or long-acting insulin (NPH, zinc, extended zinc, lispro-protamine, glargine), 1 to 2 times daily. Meal boluses are approximately 50 to 70% of the total dose, given as rapid/short-acting insulin (regular, aspart, lispro) 2 to 5 times daily before meals. Common regimens include injections of rapid/short acting insulin before each meal along with injections of intermediate or long-acting insulin in the morning and/or evening. Dosage adjustments are made to achieve target blood glucose levels and are based on frequent blood glucose measurements, diet and exercise levels.

Total daily insulin requirements:
Initial dose: 0.5 to 0.8 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Honeymoon phase: 0.2 to 0.5 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Split dose therapy: 0.5 to 1.2 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Insulin resistance: 0.7 to 2.5 units/kg/day subcutaneously

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Insulin zinc is an intermediate acting insulin which is injected subcutaneously 1 to 3 times daily. It may provide 30 to 50% of the daily basal insulin requirements.

Insulin dosage should be individualized to achieve/maintain a target blood glucose level and is determined by various factors including body weight, body fat, physical activity, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, and target blood glucose.

Conventional regimen: The total daily insulin dose is administered as a mixture of rapid/short-acting and intermediate-acting insulins in 1 to 2 injections. Twice daily injections are preferred for better glycemic control. With the 2-injection regimen, generally two-thirds of the daily dose is given before breakfast and one-third is given before the evening meal.

Intensive regimen: The total daily dose is administered as 3 or more injections or by continuous subcutaneous infusion to cover basal and pre-meal bolus insulin requirements. The basal requirement is approximately 30 to 50% of the total dose, given as intermediate or long-acting insulin (NPH, zinc, extended zinc, lispro-protamine, glargine), 1 to 2 times daily. Meal boluses are approximately 50 to 70% of the total dose, given as rapid/short-acting insulin (regular, aspart, lispro) 2 to 5 times daily before meals. Common regimens include injections of rapid/short acting insulin before each meal along with injections of intermediate or long-acting insulin in the morning and/or evening. Dosage adjustments are made to achieve target blood glucose levels and are based on frequent blood glucose measurements, diet and exercise levels.

Total daily insulin requirements:
Initial dose: 0.5 to 0.8 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Honeymoon phase: 0.2 to 0.5 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Split dose therapy: 0.5 to 1.2 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Insulin resistance: 0.7 to 2.5 units/kg/day subcutaneously

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Insulin zinc is an intermediate acting insulin which is injected subcutaneously 1 to 3 times daily.

Diet and lifestyle modifications are recommended as initial treatment for type II diabetes, followed by oral agents. Insulin may be considered if patients are very hyperglycemic or symptomatic and/or not controlled with oral agents. Insulin may exacerbate obesity, further increase insulin resistance, and increase the frequency of hypoglycemia.

Insulin dosage should be individualized to achieve/maintain a target blood glucose level and is determined by various factors including body weight, body fat, physical activity, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, and target blood glucose.

Conventional regimen:
Initial dose, adjunct: When used as an adjunct to oral hypoglycemic agents, isophane (NPH) or zinc insulin 0.1 unit/kg at bedtime has been used.

Initial dose, monotherapy: Total daily requirement: 0.1 unit/kg/day subcutaneously. When insulin is used alone, twice daily injections are recommended for better glycemic control. The total daily insulin dose is administered as a mixture of rapid/short-acting and intermediate-acting insulins in 1 to 2 injections. With the 2-injection regimen, generally two-thirds of the daily dose is given before breakfast and one-third is given before the evening meal. Once daily injections are sometimes used in children with suboptimal compliance; however, this may lead to more nocturia, fasting hyperglycemia, morning glucosuria, and a risk of ketoacidosis if the doses are missed.
Maintenance dose, monotherapy: Total daily insulin requirements may progress to 1.5 to 2.5 units/kg or higher in patients with obesity and insulin resistance.

Intensive regimen:
The necessity for and efficacy of intensive insulin therapy in type II diabetes has been controversial. The total daily dose is administered as 3 or more injections or by continuous subcutaneous infusion to cover basal and pre-meal bolus insulin requirements. This method may be appropriate for closely supervised and highly motivated older children or adolescents who are able to inject their insulin, monitor their blood glucose, and recognize hypoglycemia. The basal requirement is approximately 30 to 50% of the total dose, given as intermediate or long-acting insulin (NPH, zinc, extended zinc, lispro-protamine, glargine), 1 to 2 times daily. Meal boluses are approximately 50 to 70% of the total dose, given as rapid/short-acting insulin (regular, aspart, lispro) 2 to 5 times daily before meals. Common regimens include injections of rapid/short acting insulin before each meal along with injections of intermediate or long-acting insulin in the morning and/or evening. Dosage adjustments are made to achieve target blood glucose levels and are based on frequent blood glucose measurements, diet and exercise levels.
Initial dose, monotherapy: 0.5 to 1.5 unit/kg/day subcutaneously.
Maintenance dose, monotherapy: Total daily insulin requirements may progress to 2.5 units/kg or higher in patients with obesity and insulin resistance.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Insulin zinc is an intermediate acting insulin which is injected subcutaneously 1 to 3 times daily. It may provide 30 to 50% of the daily basal insulin requirements.

Insulin dosage should be individualized to achieve/maintain a target blood glucose level and is determined by various factors including body weight, body fat, physical activity, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, and target blood glucose.

Conventional regimen: The total daily insulin dose is administered as a mixture of rapid/short-acting and intermediate-acting insulins in 1 to 2 injections. Twice daily injections are recommended for better glycemic control. With the 2-injection regimen, generally two-thirds of the daily dose is given before breakfast and one-third is given before the evening meal. Once daily injections are sometimes used in children with suboptimal compliance; however, this may lead to more nocturia, fasting hyperglycemia, morning glucosuria, and a risk of ketoacidosis if the doses are missed.

Intensive regimen: The total daily dose is administered as 3 or more injections or by continuous subcutaneous infusion to cover basal and pre-meal bolus insulin requirements. This method may be appropriate for closely supervised and highly motivated older children or adolescents who are able to inject their insulin, monitor their blood glucose, and recognize hypoglycemia. The basal requirement is approximately 30 to 50% of the total dose, given as intermediate or long-acting insulin (NPH, zinc, extended zinc, glargine), 1 to 2 times daily. Meal boluses are approximately 50 to 70% of the total dose, given as rapid/short-acting insulin (regular, lispro) 2 to 5 times daily before meals. Common regimens include injections of rapid/short acting insulin before each meal along with injections of intermediate or long-acting insulin in the morning and/or evening. Dosage adjustments are made to achieve target blood glucose levels and are based on frequent blood glucose measurements, diet and exercise levels.

Total daily insulin requirements:
Initial dose: 0.5 to 0.8 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Honeymoon phase: 0.2 to 0.5 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Split dose therapy: 0.5 to 1.2 unit/kg/day subcutaneously
Adolescents during growth spurts. 0.8 to 1.5 units/kg/day subcutaneously

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Insulin zinc is an intermediate acting insulin which is injected subcutaneously 1 to 3 times daily.

Diet and lifestyle modifications are recommended as initial treatment for type II diabetes, followed by oral agents (metformin). Insulin may be considered if children are very hyperglycemic or symptomatic and/or not controlled with oral agents. Insulin may exacerbate obesity, further increase insulin resistance, and increase the frequency of hypoglycemia.

Insulin dosage should be individualized to achieve/maintain a target blood glucose level and is determined by various factors including body weight, body fat, physical activity, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, and target blood glucose.

Conventional regimen:
Initial dose, adjunct: When used as an adjunct to metformin, isophane (NPH) or zinc insulin 0.1 unit/kg at bedtime has been used.

Initial dose, monotherapy: Total daily requirement: 0.1 unit/kg/day subcutaneously. When insulin is used alone, twice daily injections are recommended for better glycemic control. The total daily insulin dose is administered as a mixture of rapid/short-acting and intermediate-acting insulins in 1 to 2 injections. With the 2-injection regimen, generally two-thirds of the daily dose is given before breakfast and one-third is given before the evening meal. Once daily injections are sometimes used in children with suboptimal compliance; however, this may lead to more nocturia, fasting hyperglycemia, morning glucosuria, and a risk of ketoacidosis if the doses are missed.
Maintenance dose, monotherapy: Total daily insulin requirements may progress to 1.5 to 2.5 units/kg or higher in patients with obesity and insulin resistance.

Intensive regimen:
The necessity for and efficacy of intensive insulin therapy in type II diabetes has been controversial. The total daily dose is administered as 3 or more injections or by continuous subcutaneous infusion to cover basal and pre-meal bolus insulin requirements. This method may be appropriate for closely supervised and highly motivated older children or adolescents who are able to inject their insulin, monitor their blood glucose, and recognize hypoglycemia. The basal requirement is approximately 30 to 50% of the total dose, given as intermediate or long-acting insulin (NPH, zinc, extended zinc, glargine), 1 to 2 times daily. Meal boluses are approximately 50 to 70% of the total dose, given as rapid/short-acting insulin (regular, lispro) 2 to 5 times daily before meals. Common regimens include injections of rapid/short acting insulin before each meal along with injections of intermediate or long-acting insulin in the morning and/or evening. Dosage adjustments are made to achieve target blood glucose levels and are based on frequent blood glucose measurements, diet and exercise levels.
Initial dose, monotherapy: 0.5 to 1.5 unit/kg/day subcutaneously.
Maintenance dose, monotherapy: Total daily insulin requirements may progress to 2.5 units/kg or higher in patients with obesity and insulin resistance.

What other drugs will affect insulin zinc?

Many drugs can interact with insulin or affect blood sugar levels. Do not take any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist during treatment with insulin.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about insulin zinc written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Insulin zinc is available under the brand names Humulin L, Novolin L, Iletin II Lente, and Insulin Lente Pork. The insulin should be a clear, colorless or evenly colored liquid after it is gently rolled or shaken. Do not use it if it appears to be thick, looks sticky, has particles in it, or looks different from previous bottles of insulin that you have had. Always use the same brand unless your doctor approves a change. Ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor any questions you have about this medication.

  • Humulin L-10 mL vials

  • Novolin L-10 mL vials

  • Iletin II Lente-10 mL vials

  • Insulin Lente Pork-10 mL vials

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.03. Revision Date: 1/11/06 8:53:03 AM.

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