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Humalog (insulin lispro)
What is Humalog (insulin lispro)?
Humalog is a rapid-acting insulin injection prescribed to improve blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes mellitus. Humalog is prescribed to be used either 15 minutes before or after a meal. Humalog will start working within 15 minutes of the injection, lasting for 2-4 hours.
Humalog belongs to the drug class, antidiabetics, insulin. Insulin medications work by mimicking human insulin, which helps control blood sugar levels. When insulin made by the body decreases, blood sugar levels will rise to high levels. Very high blood sugar levels can be dangerous and life-threatening.
What are the Indications for Humalog?
Humalog is prescribed as part of a treatment plan to manage blood sugar levels consisting of exercise, diet changes, and regular blood sugar testing. Any change in diet and activity can affect blood sugar levels.
Humalog may also be prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes in adults and type 1 diabetes in adults and children three years or older.
Humalog is not recommended:
- For the treatment of type 2 diabetes in children under 18 years old.
- For the treatment of type 1 diabetes in children younger than three years old.
- If you have or have had a severe allergic reaction to Humulin or any ingredients in Humulin
How is Humalog used?
Humalog should be used as prescribed by your doctor by injecting the medication under your skin through a needle and syringe, infusion pump, or injection pen.
Humalog that has not been opened should be stored in the refrigerator between 36° to 46°F or 2° to 8°C. Humalog should not be stored in the freezer.
Humalog that has been opened and is currently in use should be stored at room temperature between under 86°F or 30°C. Humalog should be kept away from direct light and heat.
Once you’ve opened Humalog, it must be used within 28 days. After 28 days, any opened remaining medication must be thrown away even if there is still some medication left.
Follow the patient information pamphlet that comes with your medication. Humalog needs to be injected under the skin of your upper leg, stomach, thigh, buttocks, or upper arm. Humalog should never be injected into a vein or muscle.
Humalog should be injected either 15 minutes before or after a meal. Humalog should only be prepared when you are ready to use it.
- Before injecting Humalog, prepare the insulin. Change the injection needle if it was not changed from the last injection. Do not reuse needles.
- Select your injection site and clean with an alcohol swab. The injection site should be rotated so as not to be in the exact same location as the last injection.
- Do not inject in areas with scars, stretch marks, bruises, or where the skin is tender, hard, or red.
- Do not use the medication if it appears to be broken, cloudy, has clumps or debris in it, or if it has expired.
- Inject the medication as directed in the patient information pamphlet or as directed by your doctor.
- After the injection, dispose of the needle in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container immediately. Do not reuse or share needles with other people. You can create a sharps disposable container by using any heavy-duty plastic household container that you have that:
- Is leak-resistant
- Has a tight-fitting, puncture-proof lid so sharps such as needles cannot escape
- Has a label warning there are hazardous materials inside the container
Humalog is a clear, colorless solution that is available in various forms, including vials, cartridges, and pens. Humalog is available in two strengths:
- 100 units per mL (U-100)
- 200 units per mL (U-200)
The dose for each person will vary and can change depending on several factors; weight, current blood sugar level, activity levels, and how well you respond to insulin.
It’s important to understand that although Humalog is FDA approved, it comes with side effects that may or may not affect you.
Before starting Humalog, you should discuss possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Common Side Effects
Not all side effects require medical attention. As your body adjusts to Humalog, side effects may go away.
Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms, and they become severe or do not go away on their own:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Change in voice
- Tender or swollen glands
- Unusual weakness
- Body aches
Serious Side Effects
Severe adverse reactions while taking Humalog can occur. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe allergic reaction: severe rash or itching, swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat, rapid heartbeat, fainting or dizziness, or problems breathing or swallowing.
- Low blood sugar: headache, irritability, confusion, blurred vision, slurred speech, dizziness or light-headedness, shakiness, fast heartbeat, mood change, anxiety, or excessive hunger.
- Low potassium: constipation, fluttering in the chest or irregular heartbeats, leg cramps, increased thirst or need to urinate, muscle weakness or unusual tiredness, or tingling sensation.
The information above does not list all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects not listed. You or your doctor may report side effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using Humalog, tell your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to any medications such as insulin
- If you have or have had liver or kidney disease
- If you have or have had heart problems,
- If you have or have had low levels of potassium such as hypokalemia
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding
Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar
The risks of having low blood sugar levels increase:
- If there is a change in your diet and exercise
- If you consume alcohol
- If you take medications for diabetes such as Humalog
- If you are over 65 years of age
- If you have liver or kidney problems
Symptoms include the inability to concentrate, irritability, shakiness, fast heartbeat, unusual weakness or tiredness, excessive hunger, and confusion.
Severe low blood sugar may become life-threatening, cause seizures, or result in death. Your doctor will create a treatment plan that includes monitoring your blood sugar level to determine if a change in treatment is necessary.
Taking Humalog can result in low potassium levels, especially if you are taking another medication that may also lower potassium levels. Low potassium levels can be dangerous, resulting in ventricular arrhythmia, respiratory paralysis, or death. Your doctor may monitor your potassium levels to determine if a change in treatment is necessary.
Take precautions such as carefully reviewing labels to ensure you use the correct insulin before making an injection. Using the wrong insulin and/or dose may lead to overdose and severe high blood pressure. There have been reports of accidental insulin mix-ups of patients using different insulins in the incorrect amount.
Pregnant or Plan to Become Pregnant
Having high blood sugar during pregnancy may cause complications during the pregnancy and delivery for both mother and baby. Complications include premature birth, low birth weight, and breathing problem. There is also an increased risk of miscarriage or stillborn. Your doctor will create a treatment plan to monitor your blood sugar levels.
Sharing of Cartridges, Needles, Pens, and Vials
Cartridges, needles, pens, and vials should never be reused or shared with anyone else. Doing so creates risks of dangerous diseases spread through blood transmission.
Interactions & Contraindications
Before using Humalog, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins.
Increased Risk of Low Blood Sugar
Taking Humalog with the following types of medications may increase your risk of low blood sugar. Your doctor will monitor your treatment plan and make changes as necessary.
- Angiotensin II receptor blocking agents
- Somatostatin analogs (e.g., Sandostatin and Mycapssa)
- Antidiabetic agents (e.g. metformin, glyburide, and glipizide)
- Sulfonamide antibiotics
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (e.g., Azilect and Marplan)
- ACE inhibitors (e.g., Benazepril and Lisinopril)
Taking Humalog with the following types of medications may weaken the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly and contact your doctor with any concerns.
- Beta-blockers (e.g., Atenolol and Metoprolol)
Effectiveness of Blood Sugar Lowering Ability
Taking Humalog with the following types of medications may decrease the effectiveness of Humalog to lower blood sugar. Your doctor will monitor your treatment plan and make changes as necessary.
- Corticosteroids (e.g., betamethasone, prednisone, and prednisolone).
- Estrogens (e.g., Estradiol and Imvexxy)
- Oral contraceptives
- Phenothiazines (e.g., prochlorperazine and promethazine)
- Sympathomimetic agents (e.g., albuterol inhalers and EpiPen)
- Somatropin (e.g., Humatrope and Omnitrope)
- Atypical antipsychotics (e.g., risperidone and aripiprazole)
- Protease inhibitors (e.g., Reyataz and Norvir)
- Thyroid hormones (e.g., Synthroid)
Taking Humalog with the following medications can either decrease or increase the effectiveness of Humalog to lower blood sugar levels. Your doctor will monitor your treatment plan and make changes as necessary.
- Beta-blockers (e.g., Atenolol, Metoprolol, Nadolol, and Propranolol)
- Lithium salts