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Active substance(s): INSULIN HUMAN (PRB)

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(human isophane insulin)
This product is available as the above name but will be referred to as Humulin I throughout the remainder of this leaflet.
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this medicine.

Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.

If you have any further questions, ask your diabetes specialist nurse, doctor or pharmacist.

This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if their
symptoms are the same as yours.

If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your
diabetes specialist nurse, doctor or pharmacist.
In this leaflet:
1. What Humulin I is and what it is used for
2. Before you use Humulin I
3. How to use Humulin I
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Humulin I
6. Further information
Humulin I contains the active substance human insulin, which is used to treat diabetes. You get diabetes if your
pancreas does not make enough insulin to control the level of glucose in your blood (blood sugar). Humulin I is used to
control glucose in the long term. Its action is prolonged by the inclusion of protamine sulphate in the suspension.
Your doctor may tell you to use Humulin I as well as a fast-acting insulin. Each kind of insulin comes with its own
patient information leaflet to tell you about it. Do not change your insulin unless your doctor tells you to. Be very
careful if you do change insulin. Each type of insulin has a different colour and symbol on the pack and the
cartridge so that you can easily tell the difference.
Do not use Humulin I if you:
- think hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is starting. Further in this leaflet it tells you how to deal with mild
hypoglycaemia (see A in Section 4).
- are allergic (hypersensitive) to human insulin or any of the other ingredients of Humulin I (see Section 6).
Take special care with Humulin I
• If your blood sugar levels are well controlled by your current insulin therapy, you may not feel the warning
symptoms when your blood sugar is falling too low. Warning signs are listed later in this leaflet. You must think
carefully about when to have your meals, how often to exercise and how much to do. You must also keep a
close watch on your blood sugar levels by testing your blood glucose often.
• A few people who have had hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) after switching from animal insulin to human
insulin have reported that the early warning symptoms were less obvious or different. If you often have
hypoglycaemia or have difficulty recognising the symptoms, please discuss this with your doctor.
• If you answer YES to any of the following questions, tell your diabetes specialist nurse, doctor or pharmacist.
Have you recently become ill?
Do you have trouble with your kidneys or liver?
Are you exercising more than usual?
• The amount of insulin you need may also change if you drink alcohol.
• You should also tell your diabetes specialist nurse, doctor or pharmacist if you are planning to go abroad. The
time difference between countries may mean that you have to have your injections and meals at different times
to when you are at home.
• Some patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart disease or previous stroke who were
treated with pioglitazone and insulin experienced the development of heart failure. Inform your doctor as soon
as possible, if you experience signs of heart failure such as unusual shortness of breath or rapid increase in
weight or localised swelling (oedema).
Using other medicines
Please tell your doctor or diabetes specialist nurse, if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines,
including medicines obtained without a prescription.
Your insulin needs may change if you are taking any of the following:
• steroids,
• thyroid hormone replacement therapy,
• oral hypoglycaemics (antidiabetic medication),
• acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin),
• growth hormone,
• octreotide, lanreotide,
• beta2 stimulants (for example ritodrine, salbutamol or terbutaline),
• beta-blockers,
• thiazides or some antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors),
• danazol,
• some angiotensin converting (ACE) inhibitors (for example captopril, enalapril) or angiotensin II receptor blockers.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Ask your doctor or diabetes specialist nurse for advice before taking any medicine.
The amount of insulin you need usually falls during the first three months of pregnancy and increases for the
remaining six months. If you are breast-feeding, you may need to alter your insulin intake or diet.
Driving and using machines
Your ability to concentrate and react may be reduced if you have hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Please remember
this in all situations where you might put yourself and others at risk (e.g. driving a car or operating machinery). You
should contact your diabetes specialist nurse or doctor about the advisability of driving if you have:
• frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia.
• reduced or absent warning signs of hypoglycaemia.
The 3 ml cartridge is only for use in 3ml pens. It is not for use in 1.5 ml pens.
Always check the pack and the cartridge label for the name and type of the insulin when you get it from
your pharmacy. Make sure you get the Humulin that your doctor has told you to use.
Always use Humulin I exactly as your doctor has told you. You should check with your doctor if you are not sure.
• You should normally inject Humulin I as your basal insulin. Your doctor has told you which insulin to use, how
much, when and how often to inject. These instructions are only for you. Follow them exactly and visit your
diabetes clinic regularly.
• If you change your insulin type (for example from animal to human), you may have to take more or less than
before. This might just be for the first injection or it may be a gradual change over several weeks or months.
• Inject Humulin I under the skin. You should not administer it using a different administration route. Under no
circumstances should Humulin I be given into a vein.
Preparing Humulin I
• Cartridges containing Humulin I should be rotated in the palms of the hands 10 times and inverted 10 times
immediately before use to resuspend insulin until it appears uniformly cloudy or milky. If not, repeat the above
procedure until contents are mixed. Cartridges contain a small glass bead to assist mixing. Do not shake
vigorously as this may cause frothing which may interfere with the correct measurement of the dose. The
cartridges should be examined frequently and should not be used if clumps of material are present or if solid
white particles stick to the bottom or sides of the cartridge, giving it a frosted appearance. Check each time you
inject yourself.
Getting the pen ready to use
• First wash your hands. Disinfect the rubber membrane of the cartridge.
• You must only use Humulin I cartridges in compatible CE marked pens. Please make sure that Humulin I or
Lilly cartridges are mentioned in the leaflet accompanying your pen. The 3 ml cartridge only fits the 3 ml pen.
• Follow the instructions that come with the pen. Put the cartridge into the pen.
• You will set the dose to 1 or 2 units. Then hold the pen with the needle pointing up and tap the side of the pen
so that any bubbles float to the top. With the pen still pointing up, press the injection mechanism. Do this until a
drop of Humulin I comes out of the needle. There may still be some small air bubbles left in the pen. These are
harmless, but if the air bubble is too big, it may make the dose of your injection less accurate.
Injecting Humulin I
• Before you make an injection, clean your skin as you have been instructed. Inject under the skin, as you were
taught. Do not inject directly into a vein. After your injection, leave the needle in the skin for 5 seconds to make
sure you have taken the whole dose. Do not rub the area you have just injected. Make sure you inject at least half
an inch (1 cm) from where you last injected and that you ‘rotate’ the places you inject, as you have been taught.
After injecting
• As soon as you have done the injection, unscrew the needle from the pen using the outer needle cap. This will
keep the insulin sterile and prevent leaking. It will also stop air going back into the pen and the needle clogging
up. Do not share your needles or your pen. Replace the cap on your pen.

Further injections
• Leave the cartridge in the pen. Before every injection, dial 1 or 2 units and press the injection mechanism with
the pen pointing up until a drop of Humulin I comes out of the needle. You can see how much Humulin I is left
by looking at the gauge on the side of the cartridge. The distance between each mark on the gauge is about 20
units. If there is not enough for your dose, change the cartridge.
Do not mix any other insulin in a Humulin I cartridge. Once the cartridge is empty, do not use it again.
If you take more Humulin I than you need
If you take more Humulin I than you need, your blood sugar may become low. Check your blood sugar. (see A in
Section 4).
If you forget to use Humulin I
If you take less Humulin I than you need, your blood sugar levels may increase. Check your blood sugar.
If you stop using Humulin I
If you take less Humulin I than you need, your blood sugar levels may become too high. Do not change your insulin
unless your doctor tells you to.
If you have any further questions on the use of this product, ask your diabetes specialist nurse, doctor or pharmacist.
Like all medicines, Humulin I can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Human insulin may cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). See more information on hypoglycaemia
below in the subsection “Common problems of diabetes”.
Possible side effects
Systemic allergy is very rare (affects less than 1 person in 10,000). The symptoms are as follows:
• fall in blood pressure
• rash over the whole body
• difficulty in breathing
• wheezing
• fast heart beat
• sweating
If you think you are having this sort of insulin allergy with Humulin I, tell your doctor at once.
Local allergy is common (affects less than 1 person in 10). Some people get redness, swelling or itching around
the area of the insulin injection. This usually clears up in anything from a few days to a few weeks. If this happens
to you, tell your doctor.
Lipodystrophy (thickening or pitting of the skin) is uncommon (affects less than 1 person in 100). If you notice
your skin thickening or pitting at the injection site, change your injection site and tell your doctor.
Oedema (e.g. swelling in arms, ankles; fluid retention) has been reported, particularly at the start of insulin therapy
or during a change in therapy to improve control of your blood glucose.
If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your
doctor or pharmacist.
Common problems of diabetes
A. Hypoglycaemia
Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) means there is not enough sugar in the blood. This can be caused if you:
• take too much Humulin I or other insulin;
• miss or delay meals or change your diet;
• exercise or work too hard just before or after a meal;
• have an infection or illness (especially diarrhoea or vomiting);
• have a change in your need for insulin; or
• have trouble with your kidneys or liver which gets worse.
Alcohol and some medicines can affect your blood sugar levels.
The first symptoms of low blood sugar usually come on quickly and include the following:
• tiredness
• rapid heartbeat
• nervousness or shakiness
• feeling sick
• headache
• cold sweat
Until you become confident in recognising your warning symptoms, avoid situations such as driving a car, in which
you or others would be put at risk by hypoglycaemia.
Do not use Humulin I if you think hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is starting.
If your blood sugar is low, eat glucose tablets, sugar or drink a sugary drink. Then eat fruit, biscuits, or a sandwich,
as your doctor has advised you and have some rest. This will often get you over mild hypoglycaemia or a minor
insulin overdose. If you get worse and your breathing is shallow and your skin gets pale, tell your doctor at once. A
glucagon injection can treat quite severe hypoglycaemia. Eat glucose or sugar after the glucagon injection. If you
do not respond to glucagon, you will have to go to hospital. Ask your doctor to tell you about glucagon.
B. Hyperglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis
Hyperglycaemia (too much sugar in the blood) means that your body does not have enough insulin.
Hyperglycaemia can be brought about by:
• not taking your Humulin I or other insulin;
• taking less insulin than your doctor tells you to;
• eating a lot more than your diet allows; or
• fever, infection or emotional stress.
Hyperglycaemia can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. The first symptoms come on slowly over many hours or days.
The symptoms include the following:
• feeling sleepy
• no appetite
• flushed face
• fruity smell on the breath
• thirst
• feeling or being sick
Severe symptoms are heavy breathing and a rapid pulse. Get medical help immediately.
If hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) are not treated they can be very serious
and cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, unconsciousness, coma or even death.
Three simple steps to avoid hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia are:
• Always keep spare syringes and a spare vial of Humulin I.
• Always carry something to show you are diabetic.
• Always carry sugar with you.
C. Illness
If you are ill, especially if you feel sick or are sick, the amount of insulin you need may change. Even when you
are not eating normally, you still need insulin. Test your urine or blood, follow your ‘sick rules’, and tell your
diabetes specialist nurse or doctor.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any side effects not listed in this
leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: By
reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.
• Keep out of the sight and reach of children.
• Store between 2°C and 8°C (in a refrigerator). Do not freeze. Protect from heat and direct sunlight. Keep the
outer container in the outer carton in order to protect from light.
• Cartridge in use may be kept for up to 28 days. Do not use beyond this period.
• When in use do not store above 30°C.
• Always keep a spare syringe and vial of Humulin I in case your pen injection device or cartridges get lost or damaged.
• Do not use Humulin I after the expiry date which is stated on the blister and the carton label. The expiry date
refers to the last day of that month.
• Do not use Humulin I, if clumps of material are present or if solid white particles stick to the bottom or sides of
the cartridge, giving it a frosted appearance. Check this each time you inject yourself.
• Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose
of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.
What Humulin I contains
The active substance is human insulin. Human insulin is made in the laboratory by a ‘recombinant DNA technology’
process. It has the same structure as the natural hormone made by the pancreas. It is therefore different from
animal insulins. The human insulin in Humulin I is available in a suspension together with protamine sulphate. One
cartridge contains 3ml equivalent to 300 IU of human isophane insulin.
The other ingredients are glycerol, dibasic sodium phosphate, protamine sulphate, zinc oxide with m-cresol and phenol
as preservatives in water for injections. Sodium hydroxide and / or hydrochloric acid may have been used to adjust acidity.
What Humulin I looks like and contents of the pack
Humulin I is a white, sterile suspension and contains 100 units of insulin in each millilitre (100 IU/ml). Each
cartridge contains 300 units (3 millilitres). Humulin I comes in a pack of 5 cartridges.
PLPI 15814/0952
This product is manufactured by Eli Lilly Italia SPA, via gramsci 731 – 733, 50019 sesto, Florentino Italy. Procured
from within the EU and repackaged by the Product Licence Holder: OPD Laboratories Ltd, Unit 6 Colonial Way,
Watford, Herts WD24 4PR.
Leaflet revision and issue date (ref): 18.09.2015.
Humulin is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly & Company.
To request a copy of this leaflet in Braille, large print or audio please call 01923 332 796.

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Further information

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