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insulin regular, concentrated (U-500) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using concentrated insulin (Humulin R (Concentrated))?

Measure each dose of this medication carefully. Concentrated insulin contains 500 units of insulin in each milliliter. This is five times the concentration of other Humulin or Novolin insulins. Using too much concentrated insulin can cause severely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which could lead to insulin shock or death.

You should not use concentrated insulin if you are in a state of hypoglycemia.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while you are using concentrated insulin.

It is not known whether concentrated insulin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use concentrated insulin (Humulin R (Concentrated))?

Use this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your doctor. It is important to use insulin regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Concentrated insulin works differently than other types of insulin, and its effects may last for up to 24 hours after a single dose. The length of insulin effect will depend on your dose, your level of physical activity, and many other factors.

Concentrated insulin is given as an injection under the skin. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will show you how to inject your medicine at home. Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of needles and syringes used in giving the medicine.

Use only an insulin or tuberculin syringe to inject this medication. Do not mix or dilute concentrated insulin with any other insulin.

Use a different place on your body each time you give yourself an injection. Your care provider will show you the places on your body where you can safely inject the medication.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only one time. Throw away used needles and syringes in a puncture-proof container. If your medicine does not come with such a container, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets. Your pharmacist can tell you how to properly dispose of the container.

Some needles can be used more than once, depending on needle brand and type. But a reused needle must be properly cleaned, recapped, and inspected for bending or breakage. Reusing needles also increases your risk of infection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you are able to reuse your insulin needles.

Check your blood sugar levels often, especially during a time of stress or illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your doctor may adjust your insulin dose if your levels are too high or too low.

Take care to keep your blood sugar from getting too low, causing hypoglycemia. Know the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, which may include headache, nausea, hunger, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, fast heartbeat, sweating, tremor, or trouble concentrating.

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose tablets or gel, candy, or milk. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

If your blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemia), you may have symptoms such as increased thirst, loss of appetite, fruity breath odor, increased urination, drowsiness, dry skin, nausea, and vomiting. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

If there are any changes in the brand, strength, or type of insulin you use, your dosage needs may change. Always check your medicine when it is refilled to make sure you have received the correct brand and type prescribed by your doctor.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you have diabetes, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are a diabetic.

Insulin is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, overall proper health care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store concentrated insulin in the refrigerator, but do not allow it to freeze.

Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Concentrated insulin should look as clear as water.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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