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

By Miriatu

Once the word diabetes is mentioned, the first thing that comes into mind is sugar and food rich in sugar. Yes, this is because these food types increase the risk of one developing diabetes. However, there are other factors that have been associated with the cause of diabetes, which include genetic (diabetes is said to be hereditary). In the past, diabetes was thought to be a disease of the rich. People who have this disease do not live a normal life in that they are restricted from eating several types of food, especially those rich in sugar. Diabetes is considered a medical condition that results due to the inability of the human body (pancreas) to produce enough insulin (a human hormone) which break down glucose to release energy and/or the insulin produced not working at maximum. If this is the case, glucose will not be used in the cells, if accumulates, resulting in fatal symptoms such as stroke, heart attack, brain damage, heart failure and possible death. There are basically two types of diabetes that have been identified in humans, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These different types of diabetes are mostly being treated with different medical products, most of which are man-made derivative or isotope of the insulin produced by the pancreas. However, there are a few products that have been tested to be effective in treating both diabetes types. An example of a drug that has been proven to be safe and effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is Humulin N. People who are to be treated with Humulin N should make sure they inform their healthcare provider about any health condition you ever had, especially if you have a history of kidney, liver, or heart problems. Humulin N also comes with a special type of syringe for its administration. If you do not use this syringe, you risk taking the wrong dose. You are not allowed to mix Humulin insulin with any other insulin or medicines and never take Humulin N if you have low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and/or you are allergic to any of the components of the medicine. Patients are required to read and understand the information provided in the medical guide or instruction leaflet that comes with this medicine. If you have any doubt or question, do well to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist

Healthcare providers should inform and educate patients about the possibility to develop hypoglycemia and how to manage it.

In order to obtain the best result by using Humulin N, you should strictly follow the advice and recommendations given to you by your doctor. Also, healthcare providers should make sure they educate patients on how to determine or measure their dose. You should never change your dose unless such change has been instructed and being monitored by your healthcare provider


Functioning and Effectiveness

Humulin N is a human insulin isophane, produced from an rDNA recombinant technology involving safe strains of Escherichia coli.  Humulin N is a prescription for adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. The drug is taken as part of a recovery program. This drug is administered alongside with diet and exercise to help control hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Humulin N is effective in lowering blood sugar levels, thus it acts as a regulatory medicine, which regulate the level or activity of insulin produced after meals. Humulin N insulin works directly on glucose, by lowering the quantity of glucose secreted by the liver into the blood stream during night time. It also helps the pancreas to produce normal insulin or increase the activities of insulin produced.

Humulin N may be used in combination with other diabetes medicines. However, it is not recommended for treating subjects with type 1 diabetes. This medicine may come as a pre-filled pen or vial (for suspension) to be injected subcutaneously under the skin of the thigh, stomach, or upper arm. Humulin N is recommended to be taken as prescribed by the healthcare professional (usually about 3 or 4 times daily depending on the patient’s clinical record). Humulin N is known to be a very effective drug and it is unlikely by itself to cause your blood sugar to drop far below normal (hypoglycemia). This is because the medication does not work well at lower blood sugar level. However, hypoglycemia has been recorded in some patients undergoing Humulin N therapy. The potential risk for developing hypoglycemia is increased when you take Humulin N together or in combination with some other diabetes medicines, such as sulfonyl. Humulin N is not formulated for patients with increased ketones in blood or urine (diabetic ketoacidosis) and there is no approved or supportive clinical or pharmacological evidence whether Humulin N is effective and safe in children under 18 years of age. However, the uses of Humulin N may also include purposes not mentioned in this article.

Healthcare provider should advise patients on how to measure their blood glucose levels and instruct patients to always measure it after administering their insulin


Uses of Humulin N

Humulin N is said to be used to effectively control high blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes. However, is use may also include?

 Weight Loss: Insulin 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 in 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.

Body building: Some bodybuilders are said to be using Humulin N insulin as the most anabolic hormone. It can be used after exercise with a carbohydrate (glucose source) to stimulate muscle building and decreases fats build up. This action however may be fatal or lead to death if sufficient amount of glucose is not taken in time.

The uses of Humulin N may also include other purposes not discussed in this article. You should consult with your healthcare provider about the various uses of Humilin.


Side Effects of Humulin N

Humulin N is an effective medication against Type 2 diabetes. However, Humulin N use may result in any adverse reaction in some people. These reactions may often be less sever, although there have been some reported cases of increased severity. For these reasons, we are going to group the various side effects of Humulin N based on their severity.

Major (Severe but Less Common) Side Effects of Humulin N

The following symptoms have been associated with severe side effects of Humulin N If you suspect or notice any, you should discontinue the use of this drug promptly and get an emergency medical help.

  • convulsions
  • cool, pale skin
  • cough
  • decreased urine
  • depression
  • flushing or redness of the skin
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or rash
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • swelling
  • tightness in the chest
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fast heartbeat
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • seizures
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusually warm skin


Minor (Less Severe but Common) Humulin Side Effects

There are also some less serious but more common Humulin Side effects. These symptoms are usually associated with early use of this drug. However, they normally go away as the body adapt to the treatment. Your doctor may also be able to advice you on the various ways to reduce or prevent these side effects. Some of these common side effects may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering
  • Burning
  • itching
  • lumps
  • numbness
  • pain
  • rash
  • soreness
  • stinging
  • scarring
  • swelling
  •  ulceration
  • warmth at the injection site
  • coldness, discoloration of the skin
  • feeling of pressure, hives, infection
  • inflammation
  • tenderness
  • tingling
  • redistribution or accumulation of body fatredness

While this may not be a complete list of all the possible side effects of Humulin N, you may have to consult your healthcare provider about the various Humulin Side effects consistent with your medical record. If you notice any unwanted reaction while using this drug, report it to your doctor. You should talk to your health care provider about the various side effects.

Over dosage of Humulin N

Over dosage of Humulin N may result in hypoglycemia and hypokalemia. This is simply due to the excess of insulin relative to energy expenditure, food intake, or both. Mild degree or levels of hypoglycemia can easily be treated or reversed with an oral glucose intake. Adjustments in the dosage of Humulin N, meal patterns, or exercise, may be required. The more severe hypoglycemic levels may result in seizure, coma, or neurologic impairment. These effects can be treated with intramuscular or subcutaneous glucagon or concentrated intravenous glucose. Also, because symptoms of hypoglycemia may reoccur after apparent clinical recovery, sustained carbohydrate intake and observation may be necessary.  

Symptoms of overdose consist of:

  • increased thirst
  • decreased amount of urine
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • dry mouth
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle pain or cramps

Half-life of Humulin N

The half-life of any medicine can be seen as the time taken for the maximum concentration of the medicine in the plasma to drop by have or the time taken the maximum activity of the medicine to drop by half its original activity rate. The ability for Humulin N to become attached to plasma proteins has been said to be about 0 to 9 %. This rate is similar to the rate of attachment of the natural human insulin, thus making this medicine one of the best for the treatment of diabetes. The average serum concentration, according to euglycemic clamp studies, is said to be about 3 hours. This is the duration of injecting this medicine that is said to be at its maximum activity. After this period, its activity starts decreasing to about after 1 to 84 hours where it’s said to be at about “zero” activity (what is referred to as the serum baseline).

However, the rate at which this medicine is eliminated from body following subcutaneous administration is said to be 4.4 hours as opposed to 141 minutes of natural human insulin. This is said to be the half-life of this medicine. Having a shorter half-life can be interpreted to mean that it takes a shorter time to be eliminated from the body.


Storage and handling conditions

Humulin N is best stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 36ºF to 46ºF (2ºC to 8ºC). Unopened vials can be stored until their expiring date. Open vials may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for not more than 31 days. Unopened vials store at room temperature should not be used after 31 days, even if it has not expired. Humulin N should not freeze Humulin N, and any Humulin N that has been frozen should not be used.  Do not store in the freezer compartment or close to the refrigerator cooling element. You should not use this medicine if found to have expired. Dispose of all expired and unused medicines following best environmental principles. Keep the vials, needle, syringes and all medicines, including Humulin N out of the reach of children and pets.

If you have but Humulin N kwikPen, the pre-filled form of Humulin, you should store it either in the refrigerator still its expiration date or at room temperature for 31 days. Once you start using a pen, dispose of it after 14 days, even if it’s not empty. Do not share this pen with others. Do not use any pen that appears used or damage. Dispose of it following best environmental principles once expired or no more in use.


Warnings and Precautions

Sharing of Humulin N KwikPen

You “MUST NEVER” use the same Humulin N pen for more than one patient, even if you changed the needle. By sharing a pen, you risk getting blood-borne pathogens to other subjects.

Changes in Insulin Regimen

Changes in the strength of insulin (such as increasing the dose or frequency of administration), manufacturer, type of insulin, of mode of administration may greatly affect the level or glucose control and lead to either hypo- or hyperglycemia. These at time are necessary due to the rate of response or tolerance to the insulin used. If such is the case, the process to change the insulin should be determined by your healthcare provider and done under his supervision. During this process, their rate of blood glucose monitoring should be increased.


Used in Specific Population

Pregnant Women

Pregnancies in general have some risk of birth defects, miscarriage, or other unwanted outcome regardless of drug exposure. These risks may be increased in pregnancies complicated by hyperglycemia. However, they may be decreased with good metabolic control. It is necessary for people suffering with diabetes or women with any history of having gestational diabetes to maintain good metabolic control before conception and throughout pregnancy. Insulin levels generally saw a decline during the first trimesters, increases during the second and third trimesters, and rapidly drop after delivery. Thus, a careful monitoring of glucose level and control is vital in such patients. Studies also revealed that, human insulin, possibly crosses the placenta though in very small quantity. These are still not well-control study conducted to determine the effects on the fetus.  

Female patients of the child bearing age are advised to talk with their healthcare provider if they ever intend to, or if they become pregnant. There is no proper and well-controlled study of the use of Humulin N in pregnancy.

Labor and Delivery

There is a need for the glucose level to be put under adequate monitoring during labor and delivery in diabetes patients.

Nursing/Breastfeeding Mothers

There are no documented facts to prove whether or not Humulin N insulin is excreted in human milk as occurs with human insulin. Also, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies of the used of Humulin N in breastfeeding women. Thus, women with diabetes who are breastfeeding may need adjustments of their insulin doses.

Pediatric use

The safety and effectiveness of Humulin N have not been determined for pediatric patients (patients younger than 18 years of age). Also, studies about the rate of metabolism of Humulin N in pediatric patients have not been performed. There is also high sensitivity of subjects of this age group due to the fact that their organ and systems are not fully mature. Thus, Humulin N is not approved for people younger than 18 years of age.

Geriatric use

The clinical studies of Humulin N didn’t include the right number of patients older than 65 years to be able to determine whether they respond differently than younger patients. However, the dosage of Humulin N for an elderly patient should be selected with much caution, typically starting at the lowest possible safe and effective dose. This reflects the greater frequency of decreased cardiac, renal, and hepatic function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy in this population.

Renal Impairment

Pharmacological and clinical studies with Humulin N in diabetes patients with different levels of severity of renal impairment have not been documented. However, the needs for Humulin N may be reduced in diabetes patients with a history of renal impairment.

Hepatic Impairment

Pharmacological and clinical studies with Humulin N in diabetes patients with different degrees of hepatic impairment have not been documented. The needs for Humulin N may be reduced in diabetes patients with a history of hepatic impairment.


Humulin N Drug Interaction

Many medicines with interact with Humulin N, altar glucose metabolism and thus dosage adjustment or monitoring may be require. For this reason, before you start taking this medicine, you will need to inform your healthcare provider about the various medicines you are taking (prescription, non-prescriptive medicines, herbal supplements, and vitamins). Some drugs that may interact with Humulin N include:

  • Medications for mental illness, nausea, and asthma and colds.
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as selegiline, isocarboxazid, and Tranylcypromine
  •  Octreotide (Sandostatin)
  • Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Other oral diabetes medications including pioglitazone
  • Oral steroids including dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, and prednisone
  • Pain relievers including aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate, diflunisal, magnesium salicylate, and salsalate
  • Beta blockers like atenolol, labetalol, metoprolol, nadolol, and propranolol
  • Certain cholesterol-lowering medications including fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and niacin

This may not be a comprehensive list of all the possible medicines that may interact with Humulin N. You should consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.


Resuspension Preparation techniques for KwikPen

Humulin N KwikPen is a suspension that must always be visually inspected and resuspended just before it’s administered. Resuspension is easily done when the insulin is at room temperature. Gently mix the insulinby alternating rolling pen in a horizontal position 10 times between palms and also 10 times vertically by moving pen up and down. Repeat these processes until the liquid appears uniformly white and cloudy. At such moment, you should immediately administer the insulin. If you delay to administer the injection, you may be required to remix the insulin again.
Subsequent injections: For subsequent injection, move the pen vertically, up and down at least 10 times until the liquid appears uniformly white and cloudy. Avoid shaking it. Repeat this process until the vial suspension appears (visual examination) uniformly white and cloudy just before immediate administration. Make sure you are left with a minimum of 12 units in the cartridge to make sure the remaining insulin is evenly mixed. If the insulin left in the cartridge is less than 12 units left, then get a new pen.

Since this medication is very important in controlling blood sugar level, its overdose is also dangerous as it may lead to a situation known as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).


Humulin N Insulin Review

While this may be an effective drug that reduces the level of glucose in blood, experiences from users are conflicting. While some reports support this claim, others are conflicting. Below are examples of users’ reports.

Positive Feedback

On one instance, a patient who was first on a combination treatment of 20 units of Humalog (3 times a day) and 100 units of Levemir (twice daily) saw no improvement of the symptoms. Then, he was switched to 22 units of Humulin N (twice daily) and just within 2 days, there was marked improvement, glucose levels drops within the normal range. Also, the smaller size 30 unit Humulin syringe has been a blessing to those travelling.    

Negative Humulin N Feeback

This patients shows no improvement to Humulin treatment even at higher doses. Such has been increase the stress level of the user as there are frustrated and disappointed. Others report increased frequency of blood sugar test due to increased risk of hypoglycemia.

Remember that user’s reviews are never a substitute for a healthcare professional’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should never base your judgment on the reviews on this article and fail to consult with a healthcare professional.

A disclaimer: The information in this article is aimed mainly as a guide. However, it may not contain all the information about this drug. We recommend you to always talk with your healthcare provider if you are in any doubt or have any question. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for a prescription that will be in line with your medical record and how best to use this drug.

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