Humulin R: Uses & Side Effects of Humulin R (Insulin)

By Miriatu

Humulin happens to be a type of man made form of hormone produced in the body. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that always allows the body to use sugar coming from carbohydrate from the food that we eat for energy or for glucose to be stored for future use. Insulin does help the body to keep the sugar level from getting too high or too low.

It is worth mentioning here that, although there are many use of humulin, there are many side effects of humulin and if the required dosage of humulin is not follow, the resulting effects may be fatal. We might get a little bit confused when we hear of humulin and insulin almost occurring under the same definition or meaning. Bear in mind that Humulin and Novolin are both like brand names for the same drug known as insulin.


Uses of humulin

Humulin is regularly used to control high blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes. By doing this, it can as a result, help to prevent kidney damage, loss of limb, blindness, nerve problems and problems at the level of sexual malfunctions. Also, if diabetes is properly controlled, it might reduce the risk of you having heart attack or stroke.

The human insulin is the same as the man made insulin which replaces the insulin normally made by the body. How does it work? It helps glucose (blood sugar) to get into cells so that the body can easily use it for energy. As a medication, it is usually used by combining with a long acting or a medium insulin product. It can be used with other diabetes drugs like metformin, as well as it can also be used alone

Insulin also regulates how fat and glucose is stored by the body. With the absence of insulin in the body, many body cells will not be able to take glucose from the blood, resulting to the body finding other alternative sources of energy. Desperately, ketones are then produced by the liver as an alternative energy source. However, a high level of ketones can lead to a dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis.

In case of an episode of hypoglycaemia (that is when the body is having low level of blood sugar), insulin at this point should be avoided. It should not be taken at all. Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia is one of the most common humulin side effects with symptoms like: dizziness, hunger, rapid breathing, sweating, heartbeat, seizure of fainting, headache and irritability

The uses of Humulin might be center only around diabetic situations. But is this really all about Humulin? Let’s find out.

People have over the past 79 years come out with many different uses of humulin (insulin). Besides diabetic situations, insulin does many other things for the body

  • Humulin Uses: Body building.

Bodybuilders have come to know insulin as the most anabolic hormone and a few of them do inject themselves with about 10 units of insulin, followed by at least carbohydrate of 100gm usually after exercise. This is done because they see that combining insulin with growth hormones will enhance muscles growth rather than fat. This action can lead to some side effects of humulin if enough carbohydrates are not consumed in time, as it could lead to death.

  • Humulin Uses: Poison therapy.

A mixture of insulin and glucose may increase survival chances from poisoning. There may exist many types of detoxification applications for acute and chronic poisoning.

  • Humulin Uses: Coma therapy

Humulin or insulin can also be used to prevent shock, and coma starting from the mid-1930s, the situation was very common in psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia and depression. This was discovered in Germany, spread to other parts of the world including US with the emigration of psychiatrists before the Second World War. A moderate amount of insulin was given to victims, enough to restrict glucose supply to the brain, causing shock, convulsions and coma

  • Humulin Uses: Solutions to preserve organs

There exist several recipes for making solution’s in order to preserve organs for transplantation and insulin plays an important part in perhaps all or at least all of them. Insulin may also help to increase cell wall permeability, and can help cells under stress to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins.

  • Humulin Uses: Wound healing

Another uses of Humulin are to heal wounds. They do have a specific healing effect on the cells that are embryologically derived from the ectoderm. In this case, the insulin is injected or topically applied in much smaller quantities than those used for diabetics. The sensory organs, vestibule and palate of mouth, central and peripheral nervous system, nails, tongue, nose, hairs, eyes and the ears are some of the many organs which can benefit from the use of insulin.

  • Humulin Uses: Psychology

Humulin can also be used in narcoanalysis in order to reduce an individual’s self-control over one’s thoughts, hence causing him to reveal the thoughts and memories which he would otherwise have supressed. Glucose is always absolutely required for the central nervous system. When the level of blood glucose reduces, it causes a decrease in all the higher mental functions. With this, narcoanalysis uses this principle to be able to reduce the higher mental control on the thoughts of memories. As a result, this will cause the subject to reveal the required information which under ordinary circumstances, he would not have revealed

  • Humulin Uses: Weight regulations

It has been proven that in the early years of insulin availability, it was marketed by Lilly for weight gain as well as the loss of weight

  • Humulin Uses: Intravenous GIK solutions

Humulin has also been used for about 40 years to reduce mortality rates in cases of acute infections of myocardial types, and cardiac failure. Apparently, GIK infusion is a particular way to quickly infuse potassium into all the cells of the heart, and can also occur even in impaired circulation situations.

  • Humulin Uses: Intravenous feeding solutions

(Especially for total parenteral nutrition), A small amount of insulin is always one of the ingredients used in IV solutions for feeding the body. This is often known to increase the absorption of nutrients. Insulin combined with growth hormones can also revers negative protein balance.


We can now see that insulin had been associated to diabetes. No doubt about the fact that the discovering of insulin did change the course of treatment of diabetes, such that event in present times, diabetes still remains as its major uses. Nevertheless the diversity of the application of insulin suggests its ability to cure many more diseases than previously anticipated. Probably if more research can be done on the none-diabetic uses of insulin, much can still be discovered since there might still me more hidden uses.



 Types of insulin/humulin


  1. Rapid acting insulin. As the name goes, these are insulin types that can act rapidly or fast. Because this type works quickly, they are mostly used at the start of meals. They act almost like insulin produced by the human pancreas. It drops quickly the level of blood sugar and functions or work just for a short period of time.  It will also prevent severe drops in blood sugar level in the middle of the night, provided it was taken at the start of dinner. It will start working approximately 15 minutes after injection and gets to its peak at about 1hour, then will continue to work for close to 4 hours
  2. Short acting insulin . Unlike long acting, the short acting insulin wears off more quickly. These types of insulin’s are used about 30 minutes before taking a meal. This gives time for it to work well. It gets to its peak in about three to four hours, but will continue working for about three to six four hours.
  3. Intermediate acting insulin. This type is made of added substances that permits them to work over a longer period of time, and that makes them cloudy. It starts to work at about two to four hours after injection and will as well get to its peak in about four to twelve hours later and will then continue to work for about 12 to 18 hours. It is usually taken as an addition to short or rapid acting insulin and taken twice a day.
  4. Long acting insulin. It also contains added substance, and stats to work several hours after injection that is about 24 hours if need be.


Note that there are different ways to issue or administer insulin. Either by an insulin pump, injection pen or syringe. As for the type of insulin, your doctor will then work with you to figure out which type of insulin is best for your situation that is depending on your blood sugar levels, your lifestyle, and whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.


Side effects of Humulin

Every drug taken either wrongly or by some particular set of people might have one side effect or another, humulin is not an exception. The humulin side effects might also be as many as those of other drugs

The most common side effect of humulin happens to be low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). Low blood sugar may also have some symptoms which may include headache, nausea, hunger, confusion, weakness, drowsiness, blurred vision, sweating, fast heartbeat, seizure. Others may also include injection side effects such as pain, redness, and irritation. Skin thickening, itching, rash, weight gain and the swelling of your hands and feet. Also low potassium, limp feeling or muscle weakness, leg cramps, constipation, increase thirst or urination, numbness and tingling


The retention of sodium, edema may also be caused by humulin, especially if poor previous metabolic control is improved by intensified insulin therapy.


Dosage of Humulin

It is often said that when drugs are taken more than it was supposed to, it can become very poisonous. This therefore means that after knowing each drug to take for a particular illness or disease, it does not end there. You need to find out which dose should be taken by whom. With this in mind, you would be sure of having the real treatment of your disease.


 Usually, it is given three or more times daily before meals. The timing and dosage of humulin  depends mostly on the individual and the type of illness it is taken for at that time, and is determined based on the advice of the physicians in accordance with patient’s needs. Humulin can also be combined with antihyperglycemic agents or longer acting products of insulin in order to suit the needs of the individual patient either with diabetes or other infections. Humulin injections should always be followed by a meal within about 30 minutes of administration


We earlier saw the type 1 and type 2 levels of diabetes. To calculate the total dose of for example a type 2 level of diabetes, we take the total daily dose, calculated on previous slide, and multiplied by 60%. Example

Weight = 200Ib

TDD = 50 U

Basal dose glargine insulin (Lantus, levemir or toujeo) = 0.6x50= 30 units per day


  • Another way is trying to figure out how to cover carbohydrate in the meal. We use rule. Which is another medical calculation to figure out how many grams of carbohydrate of the patient the insulin is going to cover?

CHO ratio/coverage calc.

Rule of 500 (some use 450)

500÷total daily insulin Dose

= 1 unit insulin covers so many grams of carbohydrate (note that as the weight of the patient goes up, insulin will be less effective)

Example – our 200 # person:

= 500÷TDD (50 units)

= 1 unit insulin covers 10g CHO for this person. So looking at this, we can see that if the patient was 100#, then 1 unit of insulin will cover 20g of CHO

When looking at the uses of humulin, we made mention of body building. Well this we said could lead to death if not used properly. So the required amount of carbohydrate to take here with insulin should be roughly between 6 to 10g of carbohydrate per IU.


Sliding scales

What physicians refer to as sliding-scale insulin is usually the rapid or fast acting insulin. It is given typically at meal times and sometimes bedtime, but takes place only when blood glucose is somehow above the threshold; no basal insulin is given, usually resulting in elevated blood glucose for each morning, which will then be chased throughout the day, and repeating it the next day

Prescriptions of insulin generally specify some fixed amounts of long-acting insulin to be given routinely, and some fixed amount of short-acting insulin prior to every meal. However, the amount of short-acting insulin may be varied depending on the pre-prandial finger stick glucose of the patient. Although it is controversial, the sliding scale is still widely taught in order to correct pre-existing hyperglycaemia.


Carb counting and DAFNE

Carb counting happens to be a much more complicated method that allows greater freedom with meal times and snacks. Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating or DAFNE is an approach taught mostly to diabetic patients in the UK and elsewhere. Patients who are not familiar with the DAFNE regime in Europe can go ahead to take an educational course whereby the basis are starting.

Insulin dose guidance is for every 10g of carbohydrate you eat, 1 unit of insulin should be taken. The DAFNE course also covers topics that naturally work alongside the DAFNE regime.  Such topics may include blood glucose monitoring and carbohydrate estimation to help the patient (diabetic) work out their personal control requirements.

In order to estimate how many grams of carbohydrate will be covered by one unit of insulin, patients can use their total daily dose (TDD). After having the result, they can use it to estimate and know how many units of insulin should be administered. This will depend on the carbohydrate contents of their meal. If for example the patient considers that 1 unit of insulin will cover 15 grams of carbohydrates, then 5 units of insulin must be administered before consuming a meal that will contain 75 grams of carbohydrate


Most dosages involve a fair degree of guest work as far as far as DAFNE is concerned. Especially with non-labelled foods, and will only work fairly constantly from one dosage to the next if the patients are continues of their body’s requirements. For example a patient finds out that he can take 1 unit to 10g of carbohydrates in the morning and also in the evening, but also finds out that their body requires more insulin for a meal in the middle of the day so they will consequently have to adjust to 1 unit insulin to 8.5g of carbohydrates

There are as well other less obvious factors that may affect the body’s use of insulin that should also be taken into account. Some patients for example may find out that insulin can be more processed in their bodies on hot days. In this case, they will require less insulin. With this situation, the patients have to adjust their dose from their understanding of the past experience. So the DAFNE regime do requires patients to learn about their body’s needs through experience, which somehow takes time and patience, but after everything, it can then become effective.


Closed -loop predictive modeling.

 Most patients with fluctuating insulin requirements may tend to benefit from a closed loop predictive modeling approach, as some sort of extension on “carb counting”. According to the closed-loop predictive modeling approach, the four daily insulin dosages needed in order to attain the target blood sugar levels for the normal daily carbohydrate consumption and some amount of physical activity also continuously adjusted based on the pre-meal and the pre-night blood sugar level readings. Now each new blood sugar readings do provide the feedback to fine-tune and track the body’s insulin requirements. Within these strategies, the key patient specific factors, which must or has to be determined by experiment, are the blood sugar correction factor and also the ratio of carbohydrate. The blood sugar correction factor now sets both the proportional gain and the integral gain. When factors of the four feedback loops are taken too low, the deviation from the require blood sugar level are not corrected. For effectively, when taken too high, there will be instability in the blood sugar regulations since in this approach, the ratio of carbohydrate is only used to account for a nonstandard intakes of carbohydrate. However, it is usually not required to work with meal specific ratios.



Long acting insulin is used in order to try to approximate the basal secretion of insulin by the pancreas, which may vary in the course of the day. Glargine, lente, ultralente and NPH/isophane may be used for this purpose. NPH is advantageous because of its low cost, and the fact that it can also be mixed with short-acting forms of insulin, hence minimizing the amount of injections that must be taken, and that the activity of NPH will get to its peak at 4 to 6 hours after it has been administered, hence allowing a bedtime dose to balance the tendency of glucose to be able to rise with the dawn, alongside a smaller morning dose to balance the lower afternoon basal need and possibly an afternoon dose to cover  up evening needs too. One disadvantage of bedtime NPH is that if not taken late enough, (that’s near midnight) to place its peak shortly before dawn, it has a potential of causing hypoglycaemia. The theoretical advantage occurring at the level of glargine and detemir, primarily for diabetic type 2 individual, is that they only require to be administered once a day, although while in practice, many patients will find that neither lasts a full 24 hours. They can also be administered at any time of the day. It shows that glargine and detemir are significantly much more expensive than NPH, lente and ultralente. Also, they cannot be mixed with other forms of insulin.

Short-acting insulin can be used to simulate the endogenous insulin surge produced in anticipation of eating or before meal. Regular insulin such as aspart, lispro and glulisine can be used for this purpose too. Regular insulin should be given with about some 30 minute lead time prior to the meal on order for it to be maximally effective and minimise the possibility of hypoglycaemia.


Note that, the humulin side effects may be fatal.  This does not put out the fact that the right dosages of humulin have so many benefits that surpass its side effects. Nonetheless, humulin is a very useful medicine in the control of diabetics.

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