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Insulin (Injection)

Treats diabetes mellitus. Insulin is a hormone that helps get sugar from the blood to the muscles, where it is used for energy.

Brand Name(s):

Lantus, Humalog, Novolog, Levemir, Lantus SoloStar, Humalog Pen, Insulin-Humalog, Lispro-PFC, Novolog FlexPen, Apidra Solostar, Apidra

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to any type of insulin.

How to Use This Medicine:

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin.Do not change the brand or dose of your insulin unless your doctor tells you to.
  • You will be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • Use only syringes that are made specially for giving insulin injections. Always use the same brand and type of syringe. Avoid switching insulin brands as much as possible. Some types of insulin must be used with a certain type of syringe. Ask your pharmacist if you are not sure which one to use.Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
  • If you are using a reusable syringe, you must sterilize it before each dose. Follow the sterilizing directions that came with your syringes.
  • Do not mix one kind of insulin with another kind or with water, unless your doctor has told you to. Never mix Lantus® (insulin glargine) with any other insulin or with water.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet.
  • Your doctor may suggest that you follow an exercise program. You may also be taught to check your own blood sugar levels at home. Diet, exercise, medicine, and checking your blood sugar are important to control your diabetes.

If a dose is missed:

  • Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store this medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. If you cannot refrigerate the insulin you will use for the day, keep it in a cool place away from heat or sunlight. Do not use insulin if it is past the expiration date stamped on the bottle.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.Do not share your needles, syringes, or medicine with anyone else.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
  • Never share insulin pens or cartridges with others under any circumstances. It is not safe for one pen to be used for more than one person. Sharing needles or pens can result in transmission of hepatitis viruses, HIV, or other blood-borne illnesses.
  • You may have low blood sugar while you are using insulin, especially if you miss a meal, exercise for a long time, or drink alcohol. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, feeling very hungry, a fast heartbeat, vision changes, drowsiness, confusion, persistent headache, chills, or vomiting.
  • Ask your doctor what to do if you have low blood sugar. You will need to control it quickly. Teach your friends, co-workers, or family members what they can do to help you in case you have low blood sugar.
  • The dose of insulin that you need may change slightly with changes in your diet or activity. Your dose needs may also change while you are ill, pregnant, traveling, taking a new medicine, or exercising more than usual. Follow your doctor's instructions about making any changes in your insulin dose.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Seizures (convulsions).
  • Fainting.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Red, itchy, or swollen skin where the shot is given.

Last Updated: 6/12/2013
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.


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