An intermediate-acting insulin, Humulin N is a medicine used for treating diabetes. It is used to control blood sugar throughout the day. The diabetes medication comes in injectable form and is injected just under the skin, usually once or twice a day. Potential side effects of Humulin N include low blood sugar levels and skin reactions at the injection site.
What Is Humulin N?
Humulin® N (NPH insulin) is a non-prescription form of insulin used to treat diabetes. It is an intermediate-acting insulin that starts working more slowly and lasts longer than regular insulin. Humulin N is not derived from animals. Instead, it is produced by combining a manufactured insulin (that is identical to human insulin) with certain chemicals to make it last longer. NPH stands for Neutral Protamine Hagedorn, so named because it has a neutral pH, contains protamine, and was invented by a scientist named Hans Christian Hagedorn.
Humulin N is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company.
How Does It Work?
Humulin N is a form of insulin, which 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 in people with type 1 diabetes and in some people who have type 2 diabetes.
Normally, your body is able to maintain proper levels of sugar in your blood and inside your cells. However, in people with type 1 diabetes (and sometimes type 2 diabetes), the pancreas has trouble making insulin. This causes too much sugar to accumulate in the blood. Too much sugar can also accumulate in the blood if your body has trouble responding to normal levels of insulin, as is common in type 2 diabetes. Over time, high levels of sugar in the blood can lead to serious health problems in the eyes, feet, hands, kidneys, and heart.
Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin medication. This means that it starts working more quickly than some insulins but more slowly than others, and that it lasts longer than some insulins but shorter than others. In some people, it may last as long as 24 hours. Humulin N is often combined with a rapid-acting or short-acting insulin that can help control the blood sugar spike that occurs just after meals.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Humulin N [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Lily USA, LLC;2013 March.
Humulin N Vial [patient package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2007 August.
Humulin N Pen [patient package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2007 August.
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 July 10, 2008.
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National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed July 10, 2008.
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