Humulin R is a medication approved to control blood sugar levels in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is a short-acting form of insulin specifically used to control the blood sugar spike that occurs after meals. Humulin R, which comes in both a standard and concentrated form, is typically injected just under the skin once or twice a day.
What Is Humulin R?
Humulin® R (regular insulin) is a form of insulin used to treat diabetes. It is a short-acting insulin used to help control the spike in blood sugar that occurs after meals. It is typically used in combination with a long-acting insulin. Humulin R can also be used in an insulin pump. U-100 Humulin R (the standard insulin concentration) is available without a prescription, while U-500 Humulin R (a concentrated version used in special situations) requires a prescription.
Humulin R is manufactured by Hospira, Inc. and is marketed and distributed by Eli Lilly and Company.
How Does It Work?
Even though it is made in a laboratory, Humulin R is identical to the insulin produced by the human body. 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 in people with type 1 diabetes and in some people who have type 2 diabetes.
Humulin R is a short-acting insulin medication. It works more quickly than intermediate- or long-acting insulins but less quickly than rapid-acting insulins. It starts working relatively quickly, produces a peak in insulin levels, and drops off relatively quickly. It is designed to help control the blood sugar spike that occurs after meals. Most people who take Humulin R will also need a long-acting insulin as well, to provide a steady background level of insulin to help control blood sugar throughout the day.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Humulin R [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Lily USA, LLC;2013 March.
U-100 Humulin R [patient package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2007 April.
U-500 Humulin R [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2007 September.
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 16, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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.
Institute for Safe Medication Practices. ISMP medication safety alert: extra caution needed with U-500 insulin (1/29/1997). ISMP Web site. Available at: http://www.ismp.org/newsletters/acutecare/articles/19970129.asp. Accessed July 16, 2008.
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