Generic Name: insulin isophane (IN soo lin EYE soe fane)
Brand Name: HumuLIN N, HumuLIN N KwikPen, NovoLIN N, Relion NovoLIN N
What is insulin isophane?
Insulin is a hormone that works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin isophane is an intermediate-acting insulin that starts to work within 2 to 4 hours after injection, peaks in 4 to 12 hours, and keeps working for 12 to 18 hours.
Insulin isophane is used to improve blood sugar control in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.
Insulin isophane may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about insulin isophane?
Never share an injection pen or syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using insulin isophane?
You should not use insulin isophane if you are allergic to it, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Do not give insulin isophane to a child without a doctor's advice.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease; or
low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia).
Tell your doctor if you also take pioglitazone or rosiglitazone (sometimes contained in combinations with glimepiride or metformin). Taking certain oral diabetes medicines while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.
Follow your doctor's instructions about using insulin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby. Blood sugar control is very important during pregnancy, and your dose needs may be different during each trimester of pregnancy. Your dose needs may also be different while you are breast-feeding.
How should I use insulin isophane?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Insulin is injected under the skin. You will be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Insulin isophane must not be given with an insulin pump. Do not inject insulin isophane into a vein or a muscle.
Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject insulin isophane. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
If you use an injection pen, use only the injection pen that comes with insulin isophane. Attach a new needle before each use. Do not transfer the insulin from the pen into a syringe.
Never share an injection pen or syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.
Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.
Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.
Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination, blurred vision, headache, and tiredness.
Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your insulin dose or schedule.
Insulin isophane is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, regular blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Keep this medicine in its original container protected from heat and light. Do not draw insulin from a vial into a syringe until you are ready to give an injection. Do not freeze insulin or store it near the cooling element in a refrigerator. Throw away any insulin that has been frozen.
Storing unopened (not in use) insulin isophane:
Refrigerate and use until expiration date; or
Store at room temperature and use within 31 days.
Storing opened (in use) insulin isophane:
Store the vial in a refrigerator or at room temperature and use within 31 days.
Store the injection pen at room temperature (do not refrigerate) and use within 14 days.
This medicine should look cloudy after mixing. Do not use the mixture if it looks clear or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Wear a diabetes medical alert tag in case of emergency. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you have diabetes.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Keep insulin on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Insulin overdose can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in your mouth, trouble speaking, muscle weakness, clumsy or jerky movements, seizure (convulsions), or loss of consciousness.
What should I avoid while using insulin isophane?
Insulin can cause low blood sugar. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you.
Some brands of insulin isophane and syringes are interchangeable, while others are not. Your doctor and/or pharmacist know which brands can be substituted for one another.
Avoid medication errors by always checking the medicine label before injecting your insulin.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can cause low blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.
Insulin isophane side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of insulin allergy: redness or swelling where an injection was given, itchy skin rash over the entire body, trouble breathing, fast heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out, or swelling in your tongue or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
fluid retention--weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet, feeling short of breath; or
low potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.
Common side effects may include:
low blood sugar;
itching, mild skin rash; or
thickening or hollowing of the skin where you injected the medicine.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect insulin isophane?
Many other medicines can affect your blood sugar, and some medicines can increase or decrease the effects of insulin. Some drugs can also cause you to have fewer symptoms of hypoglycemia, making it harder to tell when your blood sugar is low. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
More about Humulin N (insulin isophane)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 1 Review – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: insulin
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about insulin isophane.
- 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: 8.01.
Date modified: September 05, 2017
Last reviewed: June 22, 2016