Active Substance: insulin human
Common Name: insulin human (rDNA)
ATC Code: A10AC01
Marketing Authorisation Holder: Novo Nordisk A/S
Active Substance: insulin human
Status: Authorised
Authorisation Date: 2002-10-07
Therapeutic Area: Diabetes Mellitus
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Drugs used in diabetes

Therapeutic Indication

Treatment of diabetes mellitus.

What is Protaphane?

Protaphane is a range of insulin suspensions for injection. Protaphane is supplied in vials, cartridges (Penfill), or prefilled pens (InnoLet, NovoLet and FlexPen). Protaphane contains the active substance insulin human (rDNA).

What is Protaphane used for?

Protaphane is used in patients with diabetes.

The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.

How is Protaphane used?

Protaphane is given subcutaneously (under the skin) by injection, usually in the thigh. If convenient it may also be given in the abdominal wall (tummy), the gluteal region (buttocks) or the deltoid region (shoulder). The patient's blood glucose (sugar) should be tested regularly to find the lowest effective dose. Protaphane is a long-acting insulin, it can be given as a once- or twice-daily injection, with or without a fast-acting insulin (at meal times), according to the doctor’s recommendation.

How does Protaphane work?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin to control the blood glucose. Protaphane is a replacement insulin which identical to the insulin made by the pancreas. The active substance in Protaphane, insulin human (rDNA), is produced by a method known as ‘recombinant technology’: The insulin is made by a yeast that has received a gene (DNA), which makes it able to produce insulin. Protaphane contains insulin mixed with another substance, protamine, in an ‘isophane’ form which is absorbed much more slowly during the day. This gives Protaphane a longer duration of action. The replacement insulin acts in same way as naturally produced insulin and helps glucose enter cells from the blood. By controlling the blood glucose, the symptoms and complications of diabetes are reduced.

How has Protaphane been studied?

Protaphane has been studied in four main clinical trials, which included a total of 557 patients with type-1 diabetes, when the pancreas cannot produce insulin (two studies involving 81 patients), or type-2 diabetes, when the body is unable to use insulin effectively (two studies involving 476 patients). In most patients, Protaphane was compared with other types of human insulin or insulin analogues. The studies measured the level of fasting blood glucose or a substance in the blood called glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), which gives an indication of how well the blood glucose is controlled. Further studies were also carried out in 225 patients comparing injecting Protaphane using a syringe, or using a prefilled pen (InnoLet, NovoPen or FlexPen).

What benefit has Protaphane shown during the studies?

Protaphane led to a decrease in the level of HbA1c, indicating that blood sugar levels had been controlled to a similar level to that seen with other human insulin. Protaphane was effective for both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, and when using a standard injection or one of the pens.

What is the risk associated with Protaphane?

As with all insulins, Protaphane may cause hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose). For the full list of all side effects reported with Protaphane, see the package leaflet.

Protaphane should not be used in people who may be hypersensitive (allergic) to insulin human (rDNA) or to any of the other ingredients. Protaphane doses might also need to be adjusted when given with a number of other medicines which may have an effect on blood glucose. The full list is available in the package leaflet.

Why has Protaphane been approved?

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) decided that Protaphane’s benefits are greater than its risks for the treatment of diabetes. The Committee recommended that Protaphane be given marketing authorisation.

Other information about Protaphane

The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Protaphane to Novo Nordisk A/S on 7 October 2002. The marketing authorisation was renewed on 7 October 2007.

Source: European Medicines Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.