Humulin 50/50 is a non-prescription diabetes medication. It contains two types of insulin, an intermediate-acting insulin and a short-acting insulin. This medication is used to control blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It comes in injectable form and is injected just under the skin, typically twice a day (about a half hour before a meal). Potential side effects include allergic reactions and skin reactions at the injection site.
What Is Humulin 50/50?
Humulin® 50/50 (NPH insulin/regular insulin) is a non-prescription insulin medication. Like other forms of insulin, it is used to help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. It contains a mixture of two different types of insulin, regular insulin (a short-acting insulin) and NPH insulin (an intermediate-acting insulin).
As of July 2009, Eli Lilly and Company decided to stop producing Humulin 50/50 due to low product demand. It was initially estimated that current supplies of the medication may last until April 2010, but the supplies have appeared to have run out earlier than expected (as of December 2009). If you are currently taking Humulin 50/50, your healthcare provider will need to switch you to one of the other types of insulin.
Humulin 50/50 contains two different insulins, one that is intermediate-acting (NPH insulin) and one that is short-acting (regular insulin). It starts working quickly and continues to work for several hours.
Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pancreas. This hormone is important for several functions, such as controlling blood sugar. Insulin helps the cells of your body remove glucose ("sugar") from your bloodstream. This sugar fuels your body's cells, giving them the energy they need to work properly. You may need to take insulin if your pancreas has trouble making enough insulin, which is the case for people with type 1 diabetes and for some people who have type 2 diabetes.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Humulin 50/50 [patient package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2007 August.
Lilly USA, LLC. UPDATE: discontinuation of Humulin® 50/50 (50% Human Insulin
Isophane Suspension and 50% Human Insulin Injection [rDNA Origin]): Dear healthcare professional letter (12/2/2009). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/ucm050794.htm. Accessed December 23, 2009.
Eli Lilly and Company. Dear healthcare provider letter: important Discontinuation of Humulin® 50/50 (50% Human Insulin Isophane Suspension and 50% Human Insulin Injection [rDNA ORIGIN]) (June 2009). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/UCM176693.pdf. Accessed August 21, 2009.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 28, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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