Generic Name: insulin regular (IN-su-lin)
Brand Name: Examples include Humulin R and Novolin R
Insulin regular is used for:
Treating diabetes mellitus.
Insulin regular is a fast-acting form of the hormone insulin. It works by helping your body to use sugar properly. This lowers the amount of glucose in the blood, which helps to treat diabetes.
Do NOT use insulin regular if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in insulin regular
- 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.
Before using insulin regular:
Some medical conditions may interact with insulin regular. 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 drink alcoholic beverages or smoke
- if you have heart problems (eg, heart failure); kidney or liver problems; nerve problems; adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid problems; eye problems caused by diabetes; or diabetic ketoacidosis
- if you use 3 or more insulin injections per day
- if you are fasting or you do not eat regularly, have high blood sodium levels, or are on a low-salt (sodium) diet
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with insulin regular. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), clonidine, guanethidine, lithium, or reserpine because they may increase the risk of high or low blood sugar or may hide the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, if it occurs
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril), disopyramide, fenfluramine, fibrates (eg, clofibrate, gemfibrozil), fluoxetine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (eg, phenelzine), oral medicines for diabetes (eg, glipizide, metformin, nateglinide), pentamidine, pramlintide, propoxyphene, salicylates (eg, aspirin), somatostatin analogs (eg, octreotide), or sulfonamide antibiotics (eg, sulfamethoxazole) because the risk of low blood sugar may be increased
- Thiazolidinediones (eg, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone) because the risk of heart failure may be increased
- Atypical antipsychotics (eg, olanzapine), corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), danazol, diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), estrogen, hormonal contraceptives (eg, birth control pills), isoniazid, niacin, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), progesterones (eg, medroxyprogesterone), somatropin, sympathomimetics (eg, albuterol, epinephrine, terbutaline), or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because they may decrease insulin regular's effectiveness, resulting in high blood sugar
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if insulin regular 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 insulin regular:
Use insulin regular as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with insulin regular. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Use insulin regular within 30 minutes before a meal, as directed by your doctor.
- If you will be using this medicine at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use insulin regular. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Certain brands of insulin regular should not be used in an insulin pump unless your doctor tells you otherwise. If you will be using an insulin pump, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your brand may be used in a pump.
- If you are using an insulin pump, do NOT dilute insulin regular or mix it with any other type of insulin.
- If you are using insulin regular in an insulin pump, be sure you know how to use it. Follow what your doctor has told you or read the package insert. Change the medicine and parts of the pump when you have been told.
- Insulin regular should be clear and colorless. Do not use insulin regular if it contains particles; is cloudy, thickened, or discolored; or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Do not mix insulin regular with another insulin unless your doctor tells you to.
- If you are mixing insulin regular with another insulin, draw insulin regular into the syringe first. Inject the dose immediately after mixing, as directed by your doctor.
- Use the proper technique taught to you by your doctor. Inject deep under the skin, NOT into muscle or a vein.
- Injection sites within an injection area (eg, abdomen, buttocks, thigh, upper arm) must be rotated from one injection to the next.
- Do not draw into a syringe and store for future use.
- 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 or pharmacist for information.
- Insulin regular begins lowering blood sugar within 30 minutes after an injection. The effect usually lasts from 4 to 12 hours.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse or share 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 insulin regular.
Important safety information:
- Drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, or blurred vision may occur while you use insulin regular. These effects may be worse if you use it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use insulin regular 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. Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of developing high or low blood sugar.
- Do NOT use more than the recommended dose, use insulin regular more often than prescribed, or change the type or dose of insulin you are using without checking with your doctor.
- 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 require a change in dose.
- 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.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take insulin regular before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- If you will be traveling across time zones, consult your doctor concerning adjustments in your insulin schedule.
- 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 take 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 hungrier. 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 nondiet 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 you doctor right away.
- Check with your doctor if you notice a depression in the skin or skin thickening at the injection site. You may need to change your injection technique.
- Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular testing of blood sugar are important for best results when using insulin regular.
- LAB TESTS, including fasting blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c, may be performed while you use insulin regular. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use insulin regular with caution in the ELDERLY and in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially low blood sugar. If low blood sugar occurs, it may be more difficult to recognize in elderly patients.
- Insulin regular should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using insulin regular while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use insulin regular, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of insulin regular:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Mild itching, pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; mild weight gain.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; wheezing; muscle pain); change in skin to thick or thin where the injection was given; changes in vision; chills; confusion; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; headache; loss of consciousness; mood changes; muscle weakness or cramping; painful burning, numbness, or tingling; seizures; shortness of breath; slurred speech; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; tremor; trouble breathing; trouble concentrating; unusual hunger; unusual sweating; unusual or persistent weight gain; weakness.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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.Proper storage of insulin regular:
Store new (unopened) vials in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Do not use insulin regular if it has been frozen. Certain brands of insulin regular may be stored at room temperature below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) for up to 6 weeks (42 days), if refrigeration is not possible. Check with your pharmacist to see if your brand can be stored at room temperature. Keep insulin regular in the carton to protect from light.
Store used (open) vials as directed in the extra patient leaflet or by your health care provider. Check with your pharmacist to see how long unrefrigerated or opened vials may be used. Store away from heat and light. If insulin regular has been frozen or overheated, throw it away.
Do not leave insulin regular in a car on a warm or sunny day. Do not use insulin regular after the expiration date stamped on the label. Keep insulin regular, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. If you are using insulin regular in an insulin pump or if insulin regular has been mixed with other medicines or diluted, you may need to store it differently. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider how to store insulin regular.
- If you have any questions about insulin regular, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Insulin regular 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.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take insulin regular 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 insulin regular. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to insulin regular. 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 insulin regular.
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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