What is this medicine?
ISOPHANE INSULIN (NPH) (EYE soe fane IN su lin) is a human-made form of insulin. This medicine lowers the amount of sugar in the blood. It is an intermediate-acting insulin that starts working about 1.5 hours after it is injected.
How should I use this medicine?
Insulin is for injection under the skin. Use exactly as directed. It is important to follow the directions given to you by your health care professional or doctor. You will be taught how to use this medicine and how to adjust doses for activities and illness. Do not use more insulin than prescribed. Do not use more or less often than prescribed.
Always check the appearance of your insulin before using it. This medicine should be white and cloudy. Do not use it if it is not uniformly cloudy after mixing.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
Symptoms of low blood sugar:
You may feel nervous, confused, dizzy, hungry, weak, sweaty, shaky, cold, and irritable. You may also experience headache, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness.
Symptoms of high blood sugar:
You may experience dizziness, dry mouth, dry skin, fruity breath, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach ache, unusual thirst, frequent urination
Insulin also can cause rare but serious allergic reactions in some patients, including:
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your health care professional or doctor if they continue or are bothersome):
increase or decrease in fatty tissue under the skin, through overuse of a particular injection
itching, burning, swelling, or rash at the injection site
What may interact with this medicine?
Many medications may cause an increase or decrease in blood sugar, these include:
alcohol containing beverages
aspirin and aspirin-like drugs
female hormones, like estrogens or progestins and birth control pills
male hormones or anabolic steroids
medicines for weight loss
medicines for allergies, asthma, cold, or cough
medicines for mental problems
medicines called MAO Inhibitors like Nardil, Parnate, Marplan, Eldepryl
NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
quinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, ofloxacin
some herbal dietary supplements
steroid medicines like prednisone or cortisone
Some medications can hide the warning symptoms of low blood sugar. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more closely if you are taking one of these medications. These include:
What if I miss a dose?
It is important not to miss a dose. Your health care professional or doctor should discuss a plan for missed doses with you. If you do miss a dose, follow their plan. Do not take double doses.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store unopened insulin vials in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze or use if the insulin has been frozen. Store opened insulin vials in the refrigerator or at room temperature below 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). Keeping your insulin at room temperature decreases the amount of pain during injection. If you are using Humulin brand N vials, your insulin can be used until the expiration date printed on the vial. If you are using Novolin brand N vials, your insulin should be thrown away after 42 days. Protect from heat and light.
Store unopened prefilled pens in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F.) Do not freeze or use if the insulin has been frozen. After opening, keep this medicine at room temperature below 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). Do not store in the refrigerator. Protect from heat and light. Throw away any unused medicine 14 days after opening.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
episodes of hypoglycemia
an unusual or allergic reaction to insulin, metacresol, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your health care professional or doctor for regular checks on your progress. To control your diabetes you must use this medicine regularly and follow a diet and exercise schedule. Checking and recording your blood sugar and urine ketone levels regularly is important. Use a blood sugar measuring device before you treat high or low blood sugar.
Always carry a quick-source of sugar with you in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Examples include hard sugar candy or glucose tablets. Make sure family members know that you can choke if you eat or drink when you develop serious symptoms of low blood sugar, such as seizures or unconsciousness. They must get medical help at once.
Make sure that you have the right kind of syringe for the type of insulin you use. Try not to change the brand and type of insulin or syringe unless your health care professional or doctor tells you to. Switching insulin brand or type can cause dangerously high or low blood sugar. Always keep an extra supply of insulin, syringes, and needles on hand. Use a syringe one time only. Throw away syringe and needle in a closed container to prevent accidental needle sticks.
Insulin pens and cartridges should never be shared. Sharing may result in passing of viruses like hepatitis or HIV.
Wear a medical identification bracelet or chain to say you have diabetes, and carry a card that lists all your medications.
Many nonprescription cough and cold products contain sugar or alcohol. These can affect diabetes control or can alter the results of tests used to monitor blood sugar. Avoid alcohol. Avoid products that contain alcohol or sugar.