Humulin R: Uses, Dosage, Side effects, Interactions and Alternatives
What is Humulin R?
Humulin R is the trade name for diabetic medication. Doctors prescribe Humulin R for regulating blood sugar levels in people viz; children and adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Humulin R is available in liquid solution and comes in vials or prefilled injectable pens. One can avail of Humulin R from health stores with or without a prescription. Doctors give Humulin R as an injection under the skin.
Here are some quick facts about Humulin R
- Humulin R is not available in its generic form.
- The American Diabetic Association called Humulin R by names such as human regular insulin, human insulin, and regular insulin
Category of drug
- Humulin R is a kind of regular insulin that contains insulin human as the active ingredient. It is a biological drug made from living cells.
- Humulin R is of the drug class called short-acting insulins. It helps maintain the blood sugar level in diabetic individuals for three to six hours
Mode of action
Humulin R is a copy of our body’s natural insulin and works by doing the same function as our body’s insulin, such as:
- Inhibiting the liver from making excess blood glucose
- Assist the fat and muscle cells to take up the blood glucose
- Inhibit the body from breaking fats and proteins, disintegrating blood glucose, and maintaining sugar levels
Uses of Humulin R
- The Food and Drug Administration, United States has approved Humulin R to treat diabetes viz; type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Humulin R takes up natural insulin’s function and controls the blood sugar in the body
Dosage of Humulin R
The doctor recommends dosage for Humulin R based on several factors such as the type of diabetes (type 1 or type 2), medications one already uses, and other health issues.
Initially, the doctor will start with a lower dose, and then over time, he will gradually adjust the amount appropriate for the patient.
Some of the commonly recommended dosages of Humulin R for diabetes are as follows:
Type 1 diabetes
- Starting dose-0.5 units of Humulin R per kg (kilogram) of body weight per day
- One has to take the daily dose as two or three injections given half an hour before mealtime.
Type 2 diabetes
- Starting dose-0.1 to 0.2 units of Humulin R per kg (kilogram) of body weight per day
- The daily dose is two or three injections; one must take it half an hour before mealtime
Taking Humulin R
- Doctors administer Humulin R injections intravenously, i.e., in a vein over time.
- The doctor will guide the patient on self-administering of Humulin R.
- Always inject at a new site each time while injecting Humulin R to avoid the risk of injection site reaction.
- One can inject Humulin R at the upper arm, upper thigh, belly,and buttock.
Missed dose of Humulin R
- In case of missed doses, take the quantity instantly when you remember.
- However, never take two injections simultaneously, which can have rigorous side effects such as hypoglycemia, i.e., low blood sugar.
- One who wants to be sure of taking or skipping the dose must consult the healthcare provider.
Overdose of Humulin R
- One must take Humulin R as the physician directs, as high doses can lead to serious side effects such as low potassium and sugar levels.
- However, in case of accidental excessive drug intake, one must dial the emergency medical number based on the geographical site or rush to the nearby emergency medical room
Formulation of Humulin R
Humulin R, available as a liquid solution, has two strengths (power):
- Humulin R U-100(Strength-100 units of insulin in 1 milliliter of solution)
- Humulin R U-500 (Strength-500 units of insulin in 1 milliliter of solution)
Humulin R U-100comes in two vials:
- 3 mL vial-Strength is 300 units of insulin
- 10 mL vial-Strength is 1000 units of insulin
Humulin R U-500 comes in:
- A single 20 mL vial-Strength is 10,000 units of insulin.
- Humulin R U-500 is also available as a 3 mL prefilled pen (KwikPen) for use by a single person more than once. One has to use new needles to inject each dose with the pen.
- 3 mL KwikPen-Strength is 1500 units of insulin
Side effects of Humulin R
Common side effects
Some common side effects are:
Injection site reaction :
with symptoms like
- Pain at the injection site
- Skin reddening
- Thickened skin
- Skin lumps
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Mild side effects
- Weight gain
- Stomach gas (bloating)
- Swelling in the legs and arms
- Proteins build up in the injected site
- Skin lesions at the injected site
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are:
With symptoms like
- Swelling in the mouth, lips, tongue and throat
- Swelling of eyelids, hands, and feet
- Difficult breathing
Low potassium in the blood (Hypokalemia)
- Extreme tiredness
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Muscle pain
- Difficulty in clearing bowels
Severe low blood sugar
- Body shaking
- Coma (prolonged loss of body consciousness)
- Death(in extreme cases)
Humulin R might not be suitable for people with the following health conditions:
- If allergic to Humulin R or any of the ingredients of the drug
- With low potassium levels
- People on diabetic medication such as thiazolidinediones
- Moreover, one must not use Humulin R during episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Alcohol might affect the efficiency of Humulin R. So; it is best to avoid alcohol intake while taking Humulin R.
- There is no issue with taking Humulin R during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is best to consult with the healthcare provider regarding the risk and benefits of taking Humulin R during those times.
Interactions of Humulin R
Humulin R can interact with several medicines.
Some of the drugs that Humulin R can interact with are as follows:
- Avantia, Actos(diabetic medication)
- Haloperidol(Antipsychotic drug)
- Beta-blockers viz; metoprolol ( Antihypertensive drugs)
- Levothyroxine (Thyroid medication)
- Isoniazid, sulfonamides(Antibiotics)
- Niacin (cholesterol-lowering medication)
- Protease inhibitors (Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medication)
- Fluoxetine (antidepressants)
- Pentoxifylline (Peripheral artery disease drug)
However, it has every chance that interactions might occur with other drugs not listed above. So, patients with medical conditions must always notify the physician about it before taking the medication.
Storage of Humulin R
Store Humulin R away from direct sunlight and heat and avoid keeping it in the freezer
Storage of unopened Humulin R
- Store Humulin R in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees centigrade.
- One can also store unopened Humulin R at room temperatures below 30 degrees centigrade for around four weeks.
Storage of opened Humulin R
- Store Humulin RU-100 and Humulin R-U 500 in the refrigerator at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees centigrades or at room temperature below 30 degrees Celsius. One can use up to 31 days and 40 days, respectively.
- One can store opened KwikPens at room temperature and use it for up to four weeks. Once opened, avoid refrigerating it
- Dispose of unused medicine in a disposal container, viz; sharps container, to prevent accidental overdose or death of animals or pets.
- Discard the medication whose expiry date has crossed.
Alternatives to Humulin R
Other drugs are also available to treat diabetes, similar to Humulin R. Some may suit better. One opting for alternative insulin or medicine must discuss it with the doctor to get the best suit.
Alternative insulins for Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
- Novolin R
- Novolin N
- Humulin N
Alternative drugs other than insulin for Type 2 diabetes
- Humulin R is an FDA-approved medication for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- People with a medical condition must inform the doctor before taking Humulin R to avoid unwanted side effects.
- Humulin R has probable side effects. So, one must follow the specific doses as approved by the physician.