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Drugs & Medications

Novolin N subcutaneous

GENERIC NAME(S): NPH, HUMAN INSULIN ISOPHANE

Uses

Insulin isophane is used with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

This man-made insulin product is the same as human insulin. It replaces the insulin that your body would normally make. It is an intermediate-acting insulin (isophane). It starts to work more slowly but lasts longer than regular insulin. Insulin isophane works by helping blood sugar (glucose) get into cells so your body can use it for energy. Insulin isophane is often used in combination with a shorter-acting insulin. It may also be used alone or with other oral diabetes drugs (such as metformin).

How to use Novolin N subcutaneous

Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using insulin isophane and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, diabetes educator, or pharmacist.

Learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional and the product package.

Before using, gently roll the vial or cartridge, turning it upside down and right side up 10 times to mix the medication. Do not shake the container. Check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the insulin. Insulin isophane should look evenly cloudy/milky after mixing. Do not use if you see clumps of white material, a "frosty" appearance, or particles stuck to the sides of the vial or cartridge.

Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. Change the injection site each time to lessen injury under the skin and to avoid developing problems under the skin (lipodystrophy). Inject this medication under the skin as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice a day. This insulin product may be injected in the stomach area, the thigh, the buttocks, or the back of the upper arm. Do not inject into a vein or muscle because very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may occur. Do not rub the area after the injection. Do not inject into skin that is red, swollen, or itchy. Do not inject cold insulin because this can be painful. The insulin container you are currently using can be kept at room temperature (see also Storage section).

This product may be mixed only with certain other insulin products such as insulin regular. Always draw the insulin regular into the syringe first, then follow with the longer-acting insulin. Never inject a mixture of different insulins into a vein. Consult your health care professional about which products may be mixed, the proper method for mixing insulin, and the proper way to inject mixtures of insulin. Do not mix insulins if you are using an insulin pump.

Do not change brands or types of insulin without directions on how to do so from your doctor.

Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Measure each dose very carefully because even small changes in the amount of insulin may have a large effect on your blood sugar levels.

Check your urine/blood sugar level as directed by your doctor. Keep track of your results and share them with your doctor. This is very important in order to determine the correct insulin dose.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day.

Side Effects

Injection site reactions (such as pain, redness, irritation) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of low potassium level in the blood (such as muscle cramps, weakness, irregular heartbeat).

This medication can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This may occur if you do not consume enough calories from food or if you do unusually heavy exercise. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor immediately about the reaction and the use of this product. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.

Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor immediately. Your dosage may need to be increased.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using insulin isophane, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other insulins; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Do not use this medication when you have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: adrenal/pituitary gland problems, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid problems.

You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar levels. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.

Limit alcohol while using this medication because it can increase your risk of developing low blood sugar.

It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because this may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise. You may need a snack before exercising.

If traveling across time zones, ask your doctor about how to adjust your insulin schedule. Take extra insulin and supplies with you.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially low blood sugar.

Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially low blood sugar.

Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant. Pregnancy may cause or worsen diabetes. Discuss a plan with your doctor for managing your blood sugar while pregnant. Your doctor may change your diabetes treatment during your pregnancy (such as diet and medications including insulin).

This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. Your insulin needs may change while breast-feeding.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: repaglinide, rosiglitazone.

Beta-blocker medications (such as metoprolol, propranolol, glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may prevent the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar level falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, hunger, or sweating, are unaffected by these drugs.

Many drugs can affect your blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Before you start, stop, or change any medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how the medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor about the results and of any symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See also Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your anti-diabetic medication, exercise program, or diet.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: signs of low blood sugar such as sweating, shakiness, loss of consciousness, fast heartbeat.

Notes

Do not share this medication, needles, or syringes with others.

Attend a diabetes education program to learn more about diabetes and the important aspects of its treatment, including medications, diet, exercise, and getting regular eye/foot/medical exams.

Learn the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and how to treat low blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed.

Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments. Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver and kidney function tests, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.

Keep extra supplies of insulin, syringes, and needles on hand.

Missed Dose

It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you miss a dose of insulin.

Storage

It is best to refrigerate all unopened insulin products. Opened insulin isophane vials may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Throw away opened insulin isophane vials after 28 days or 31 days or 42 days depending on your brand of insulin, even if there is insulin left. Ask your pharmacist about your specific brand. Some devices for giving insulin should not be refrigerated.

Ask your pharmacist for storage information about your specific brand of insulin isophane cartridge or pen while in use. Most of these products can be stored at room temperature for different lengths of time (such as 7 to 14 days). Also throw away all insulin products after the expiration date on the package. Do not freeze and do not use insulin that has been frozen.

Protect insulin from light and heat. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

Information last revised March 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.

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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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