Skip to Content
Is it time for a new insulin treatment? Learn more >>

insulin regular

Pronunciation

Generic Name: insulin regular (IN soo lin REG yoo lar)
Brand Name: HumuLIN R, NovoLIN R, ReliOn/HumuLIN R

What is regular insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Regular insulin is a short-acting insulin that starts to work within 30 minutes after injection, peaks in 2 to 3 hours, and keeps working for up to 8 hours.

Regular insulin is used to improve blood sugar control in adults and children with diabetes mellitus. This medicine may be used for type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Regular insulin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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

You should not use insulin if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

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

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to insulin, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Regular insulin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 2 years old. Regular insulin should not be used to treat type 2 diabetes in a child of any age.

To make sure insulin 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 regular insulin?

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 may 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.

Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject regular insulin. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

After using regular insulin, you should eat a meal within 30 minutes.

Regular insulin must not be given with an insulin pump. Do not inject regular insulin into a vein or a muscle.

Never share a syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing syringes 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.

Regular insulin 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) regular insulin:

  • Refrigerate and use until expiration date; or

  • Store at room temperature and use within 42 days.

Storing opened (in use) regular insulin:

  • Store at room temperature and use within 42 days.

Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has any 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 regular insulin?

Do not change the brand of insulin or syringe 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.

Insulin can cause low blood sugar. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you.

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.

Regular insulin 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:

  • 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;

  • swelling in your hands or feet;

  • weight gain; 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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Insulin regular dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Note: Regular human insulin is available in 2 concentrations: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100) and 500 units of insulin per mL (U-500)

Individualize dose based on metabolic needs and frequent monitoring of blood glucose
-Total daily insulin requirements are generally between 0.5 to 1 unit/kg/day
-Most individuals with type 1 diabetes should be treated with multiple-daily insulin (MDI) injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII)

MDI Regimens: Utilizing a combination of prandial (i.e., bolus, rapid, or short-acting insulins) and basal (i.e., intermediate or long acting insulin) insulin, administer 3 to 4 injections per day; regular human insulin is a short-acting prandial insulin.
--Administer U-100 insulin subcutaneously 3 or more times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal
--Administer U-500 insulin subcutaneously 2 to 3 times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal

CSII (Insulin Pump) Therapy: U-100 insulin only
-Initial programming should be based on the total daily insulin dose of previous MDI regimen; check with pump labeling to ensure pump has been evaluated with the specific insulin to be used (e.g., Novolin(R) is not recommended for use in insulin pumps due to risk of precipitation).
-While there is significant interpatient variability, approximately 50% of the total dose is provided as meal-related boluses and the remainder as a basal infusion.

Intravenous Administration: U-100 insulin only;
-Closely monitor blood glucose and serum potassium during IV administration
-Humulin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.1 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polyvinyl chloride infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline
-Novolin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.05 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polypropylene infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline, 5% dextrose, or 10% dextrose with 40 mmol/L potassium chloride

Comments:
-Most people with type 1 diabetes should use insulin analogs to reduce hypoglycemic risk.
-Most people with type 1 diabetes should be educated in how to match prandial insulin dose to carbohydrate intake, pre-meal blood glucose, and anticipated activity.
-Insulin resistant patients that require daily insulin doses of more than 200 units may find U-500 insulin to be useful as large doses may be administered subcutaneously in a reasonable volume.
-To avoid any mix-up with the availability of 2 different regular human insulin concentrations, insulin doses should always be ordered in units not in volume.

Use: To improve glycemic control in adult patients with diabetes mellitus.

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Note: Regular human insulin is available in 2 concentrations: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100) and 500 units of insulin per mL (U-500)

Individualize dose based on metabolic needs and frequent monitoring of blood glucose
-Initial doses are often in the range of 0.2 to 0.4 units/kg/day
-Use HbA1c values to guide therapy; consult current guidelines for optimal target ranges

Multiple-daily insulin (MDI) injections U-100 or U-500 insulin:
-Administer U-100 insulin subcutaneously 3 or more times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal
-Administer U-500 insulin subcutaneously 2 to 3 times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal
-May be used in combination with oral antihyperglycemic agents or longer-acting basal insulin

Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (Insulin Pump) U-100 insulin only:
-Initial programming should be based on the total daily insulin dose of previous MDI regimen; check with pump labeling to ensure pump has been evaluated with specific insulin to be used (e.g., Novolin(R) is not recommended for use in insulin pumps due to risk of precipitation)
-While there is significant interpatient variability, approximately 50% of the total dose is provided as meal-related boluses and the remainder as a basal infusion.

Intravenous Administration U-100 insulin only:
-Closely monitor blood glucose and serum potassium during IV administration
-Humulin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.1 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polyvinyl chloride infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline
-Novolin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.05 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polypropylene infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline, 5% dextrose, or 10% dextrose with 40 mmol/L potassium chloride

Comments:
-For people with type 2 diabetes, a patient-centered approach to care should guide choice of pharmacologic agents; considerations include efficacy, cost, potential side effects, weight, comorbidities, hypoglycemic risk, and patient preference.
-Insulin resistant patients that require daily insulin doses of more than 200 units may find U-500 insulin to be useful as large doses may be administered subcutaneously in a reasonable volume.
-To avoid any mix-up with the availability of 2 different regular human insulin concentrations (U-100 and U-500), insulin doses should always be ordered in units not in volume.

Use: To improve glycemic control in adult patients with diabetes mellitus.

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetic Ketoacidosis:

Successful treatment of hyperglycemic emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) requires frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameters while carefully correcting volume deficits, managing electrolytes, and normalizing blood glucose. Insulin therapy is used to slowly correct high glucose levels; consult current treatment protocols for specific guidance on fluid and electrolyte management.

Initiate insulin infusion 1 to 2 hours after starting fluid replacement therapy.
-Dose: 0.14 unit/kg/hour IV; alternatively, a bolus of 0.1 unit/kg followed by an infusion of 0.1 unit/kg/hr has been used
-Blood glucose should drop 50 to 75 mg/dL per hour, if this drop does not occur in the first hour; administer bolus of 0.14 unit/kg while continuing the insulin infusion.
-When blood glucose concentration reaches 200 mg/dL, decrease the insulin infusion to 0.02 to 0.05 unit/kg/hr; dextrose should be added to the IV fluids to maintain a blood glucose between 150 and 200 mg/dL until resolution of DKA (serum bicarbonate level 15 mEq/L or greater, venous pH greater than 7.3, and a calculated anion gap in the normal range)

In circumstances where continuous IV infusion is not possible and DKA is uncomplicated, rapid and short-acting insulins have been administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly. See rapid-acting (lispro, aspart, or glulisine) insulin monographs for dosing of rapid-acting insulin.

Subcutaneous regular human insulin: 0.1 unit/kg subcutaneously every 1 to 2 hours; when blood glucose is less than 250 mg/dL (14 mmol/L), give glucose-containing fluids orally and reduce insulin to 0.05 unit/kg subcutaneously as needed to keep blood glucose around 200 mg/dL (11 mmol/L) until resolution of DKA.

Comments:
-An endocrinologist or critical care specialist with training and expertise in the management of DKA should direct care; frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameters is necessary as well as identification and correction of precipitating event.
-Starting insulin therapy before IV fluid replacement may precipitate shock, and increase the risk of hypokalemia and cerebral edema.
-To prevent rebound hyperglycemia, initiate subcutaneous insulin 15 to 30 minutes (rapid-acting) or 1 to 2 hours (regular insulin) before stopping the insulin infusion; alternatively, basal insulin may be administered in the evening and the insulin infusion stopped the next morning.

Use: Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

Usual Adult Dose for Insulin Resistance:

Patients with insulin-resistant type 1 or type 2 diabetes who require daily insulin doses of more than 200 units may find U-500 insulin to be useful; larger doses may be administered subcutaneously in a reasonable volume.

Usual Adult Dose for Nonketotic Hyperosmolar Syndrome:

Successful treatment of hyperglycemic emergencies hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS) requires frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameters while carefully correcting volume deficits, managing electrolytes, and normalizing blood glucose. Insulin therapy is used to slowly correct high glucose levels; consult current treatment protocols for specific guidance on fluid and electrolyte management.

Initiate insulin infusion 1 to 2 hours after starting fluid replacement therapy
-Dose: 0.14 unit/kg/hour IV; alternatively, a bolus of 0.1 unit/kg followed by an infusion of 0.1 unit/kg/hr has been used
-If blood glucose does not fallen by 10% in first hour, give bolus of 0.14 units/kg while continuing insulin infusion
-When blood glucose concentration reaches 300 mg/dL or less, decrease the insulin infusion to 0.02 to 0.05 unit/kg/hr; dextrose should be added to the IV fluids to maintain blood glucose between 250 and 300 mg/dL until resolution of HHS.

Comments:
-An endocrinologist or critical care specialist with training and expertise in the management of HHS should direct care; frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameter is necessary as well as identification and correction of precipitating event.
-Starting insulin therapy before IV fluid replacement may precipitate shock, and increase the risk of hypokalemia and cerebral edema.
-To prevent rebound hyperglycemia, initiate subcutaneous insulin 15 to 30 minutes (rapid-acting) or 1 to 2 hours (regular insulin) before stopping the insulin infusion; alternatively, basal insulin may be administered in the evening and the insulin infusion stopped the next morning.

Use: Treatment of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (also known as hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma (HONK); hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome)

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Note: Regular human insulin is available in 2 concentrations: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100) and 500 units of insulin per mL (U-500); U-500 insulin has not been adequately studied in pediatric patients.

Individualize dose based on metabolic needs and frequent monitoring of blood glucose
-Total daily insulin requirements are usually between 0.5 to 1 unit/kg/day
-Insulin requirements during the honeymoon phase (period of partial remission) are usually less than 0.5 units/kg/day and may be much lower
-Insulin requirements in pre-pubertal children who are outside the partial remission phase are usually from 0.7 to 1 unit/kg/day
-Insulin requirements in patients with insulin resistance (e.g., during puberty or due to obesity) may be substantially higher than 1 unit/kg/day (up to 2 units/kg/day)
-Use HbA1c values to guide therapy; consult current guidelines for optimal target ranges
-Most individuals with type 1 diabetes should be treated with multiple-daily insulin (MDI) injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII)

MDI Regimens: Utilizing a combination of prandial (i.e., bolus, rapid, or short-acting insulins) and basal (i.e., intermediate or long acting insulin) insulin, administer 3 to 4 injections per day; regular human insulin is a short-acting prandial insulin.
--Administer U-100 insulin subcutaneously 3 or more times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal

CSII (Insulin Pump) U-100 insulin:
-Initial programming should be based on the total daily insulin dose of previous MDI regimen; check with pump labeling to ensure pump has been evaluated with specific insulin to be used (Novolin(R) is not recommended for use in insulin pumps due to risk of precipitation)
-While there is significant interpatient variability, approximately 50% of the total dose is provided as meal-related boluses and the remainder as a basal infusion.

Intravenous Administration: U-100 insulin:
-Closely monitor blood glucose and serum potassium during IV administration
-Humulin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.1 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polyvinyl chloride infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline
-Novolin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.05 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polypropylene infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline, 5% dextrose, or 10% dextrose with 40 mmol/L potassium chloride

Comments:
-Most people with type 1 diabetes should use insulin analogs to reduce hypoglycemic risk.
-Most people with type 1 diabetes should be educated in how to match prandial insulin dose to carbohydrate intake, pre-meal blood glucose, and anticipated activity.
-Insulin resistant patients that require daily insulin doses of more than 200 units may find U-500 insulin to be useful as large doses may be administered subcutaneously in a reasonable volume.
-To avoid any mix-up with the availability of 2 different regular human insulin concentrations, insulin doses should always be ordered in units not in volume.
-Insulin therapy should be initiated in children and adolescents for whom the distinction between type 1 diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes mellitus is unclear, specifically those with a random venous or plasma blood glucose concentration of 250 mg/dL or greater, or those who HbA1c is greater than 9%.

Use: To improve glycemic control in pediatric patients with diabetes mellitus.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Note: Regular human insulin is available in 2 concentrations: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100) and 500 units of insulin per mL (U-500); U-500 insulin has not been adequately studied in pediatric patients.

Individualize dose based on metabolic needs and frequent monitoring of blood glucose
-Initial doses are often in the range of 0.2 to 0.4 units/kg/day
-Use HbA1c values to guide therapy; consult current guidelines for optimal target ranges

Multiple-Daily Insulin (MDI) injections: Utilizing a combination of prandial (i.e., bolus, rapid, or short-acting insulins) and basal (i.e., intermediate or long acting insulin) insulin, may administer 3 to 4 injections per day; regular human insulin is a short-acting prandial insulin
--Administer U-100 insulin subcutaneously 3 or more times a day approximately 30 minutes prior to start of a meal

Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII) - Insulin Pump Therapy:
-Initial programming should be based on the total daily insulin dose of previous MDI regimen; check with pump labeling to ensure pump has been evaluated with specific insulin to be used (Novolin(R) is not recommended for use in insulin pumps due to risk of precipitation)
-While there is significant interpatient variability, approximately 50% of the total dose is provided as meal-related boluses and the remainder as a basal infusion.

Intravenous Administration: U-100 insulin:
-Closely monitor blood glucose and serum potassium during IV administration
-Humulin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.1 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polyvinyl chloride infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline
-Novolin(R): Dilute to a concentration of 0.05 to 1 unit/mL in an infusion system using polypropylene infusion bags; this insulin is stable in normal saline, 5% dextrose, or 10% dextrose with 40 mmol/L potassium chloride

Comments:
-Insulin therapy should be initiated in children and adolescents for whom the distinction between type 1 diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes mellitus is unclear, specifically those with a random venous or plasma blood glucose concentration of 250 mg/dL or greater, or those who HbA1c is greater than 9%.
-May administer in combination with oral antidiabetic agents.

Use: To improve glycemic control in pediatric patients with diabetes mellitus.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetic Ketoacidosis:

Successful treatment of hyperglycemic emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) requires frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameters while carefully correcting volume deficits, managing electrolytes, and normalizing blood glucose. Insulin therapy is used to slowly correct high glucose levels; consult current treatment protocols for specific guidance on fluid and electrolyte management.

Initiate insulin infusion 1 to 2 hours after starting fluid replacement therapy.
-Dose: 0.1 unit/kg/hour IV until resolution of DKA (pH greater than 7.3, bicarbonate greater than 15 mmol/L and/or closure of the anion gap); resolution of DKA takes longer than normalization of blood glucose concentrations.
-For patients with marked sensitivity to insulin, decrease insulin to 0.05 units/kg/hour or less provided the metabolic acidosis continues to resolve.

In circumstances where continuous IV infusion is not possible and DKA is uncomplicated, may administer regular insulin subcutaneously at 0.1 unit/kg every 1 to 2 hours; when blood glucose is less than 250 mg/dL (14 mmol/L), give glucose-containing fluids orally and reduce insulin to 0.05 unit/kg as needed to keep blood glucose around 200 mg/dL (11 mmol/L) until resolution of DKA.

Comments:
-An endocrinologist or critical care specialist with training and expertise in the management of DKA should direct care; frequent monitoring of clinical and laboratory parameters is necessary as well as identification and correction of precipitating event.
-Starting insulin therapy before IV fluid replacement may precipitate shock, and increase the risk of hypokalemia and cerebral edema.
-During initial volume expansion the plasma glucose falls steeply, thereafter expect decreases in the range of 36 to 90 mg/dL/hr (2 to 5 mmol/L/hr); to prevent too rapid a decrease in plasma glucose and hypoglycemia, 5% glucose should be added to the IV fluid when the plasma glucose falls to 250 to 300 mg/dL (14 to 17 mmol/L) or sooner if the rate of fall is precipitous.
-To prevent rebound hyperglycemia, initiate subcutaneous insulin 15 to 30 minutes (rapid-acting) or 1 to 2 hours (regular insulin) before stopping the insulin infusion; alternatively, basal insulin may be administered in the evening and the insulin infusion stopped the next morning.

Use: Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis

What other drugs will affect regular insulin?

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.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about regular insulin.
  • 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. Revision Date: 2016-06-23, 1:10:08 PM.

Hide