Insulin and Insulin Regulators

For diabetes, healthcare professionals may give insulin or medications that help insulin work better are. Some common names of insulin for injection are: regular or unmodified insulin (Humulin R, Novolin R), isophane insulin/NPH (Humulin N, Novolin N), 70% isophane insulin plus 30% insulin (Humulin 70/30, Novolin 70/30), lente insulin (Humulin L, Novolin L), and ultralente insulin (Humulin U). Some medications that help insulin work better are: glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase), tolbutamide (Orinase), glucophage (Metformin), and troglitazone (Rezulin).

What is diabetes and what do insulin and insulin regulators do?

  • Diabetes is a lifelong disease. Those who have it can't use the energy from the food they eat. After you eat, food turns into sugar. Your body needs insulin to use this sugar for fuel. People with diabetes have trouble using this sugar, so a lot of the sugar stays in the blood. If not treated properly, diabetes can cause many serious health problems.
  • These medications may help provide insulin directly, help the pancreas gland make insulin, or make insulin work better. Insulin helps the body use sugar for energy. Medication side effects can be worsened by a delay in eating, increase in exercise, or a medication dose larger than needed.
  • People who take these medications should wear a medical identification bracelet.

What should I tell the healthcare professional about the individual who will be taking these medications?

  • Tell the healthcare professional about any alcohol or medications (prescriptions, or nonprescription) that the patient is taking.
  • Tell if the individual is pregnant.
  • Tell if you have seen changes in the individual's skin temperature (too warm and moist or clammy), appetite, or mood.
  • Tell if the person is more nervous than usual.
  • Tell if the person is having trouble finding the right words to say or answering questions.
  • Tell if the person urinates more frequently than usual.
  • Tell if the person complains of headache, stomach ache, nausea, or dizziness.

How should I give this medication and how should I store it?

  • Give these medications by mouth unless indicated on the prescription.
  • You can give many of these medications either with or without food. Some must be given with food. Follow the instructions closely.
  • Give these medications on time and as prescribed.
  • Store oral medications at room temperature.
  • Store unused injectable insulin in the refrigerator and mixed well before use.
  • If injectable insulin is in use, keep it at at room temperature. Mix well before use.
  • Do not mix two kinds of insulin in the same syringe without instructions from your healthcare provider.

What side effects should I look for and report right away?

  • Signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) include: hunger, nausea, stomach pain, fast heart rate, mental confusion, or decreased alertness.
  • Treat symptoms of low blood sugar immediately. If the person is conscious and can swallow, give orange juice or any food containing a lot of sugar. If unconscious or unable to swallow, you must call 911, even if they regain consciousness.
  • Some individuals who take insulin regulators experience bloating and gas.

Where can I buy insulin and insulin regulators?

  • Go to Pharmacy Online on the World Wide Web and buy prescription drugs.