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What is Insulin?

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Insulin is a hormone that is made in your body naturally. The pancreas, an organ near your stomach, releases more insulin each time there is a rise in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels usually rise after a person eats a meal. That's when the body takes the food you ate and turns it into sugar, sometimes called glucose.

The insulin in your body works like a key, unlocking cells to help deliver sugar from the blood. Every cell in the body has a lock on its cell wall, called a receptor. Insulin fits into that lock like a key, allowing sugar to enter the cells. When the body is not able to make enough insulin, blood sugar is locked out of the cells.

When blood sugar is locked out of cells, it stays in the bloodstream. This leads to blood sugar building up in the bloodstream until blood sugar levels are too high, which is also called hyperglycemia. This extra sugar is what makes people feel the symptoms of diabetes, such as often feeling tired or thirsty.

Types of insulin therapy

The first generation of man-made insulin, created in the 1980s, was called "human insulin." It is available in 3 types: regular human insulin, intermediate-acting, and premixed. More recently, insulin analogs have been made. They work in a variety of different ways. Some types of insulin analogs act more quickly, others more slowly.

Different types of insulin work differently to mimic the way the body normally releases insulin. They each have a different:

  • Onset of action (when they start to work)
  • Time of peak action (when their effect on blood sugar
    is greatest)
  • Duration of action (how long they work)

A more recently developed type of insulin is called "insulin analog." Insulin analog is available in these types:

  • Long-acting. This type works more slowly. It works longer to control blood sugar between meals and when you sleep. Long-acting insulin is taken either once or twice a day at the same time every day, often with your evening meal or at bedtime to help give up to 24-hour insulin coverage. This is often the first insulin prescribed by your doctor for type 2 diabetes
  • Rapid or fast-acting. This type is taken shortly before mealtime. It works quickly to control the rapid rise in blood sugar after meals. Fast-acting insulin mimics the body's natural release of insulin at mealtime
  • Premixed. For appropriate patients, premixed insulin combines the action of a rapid and long-acting insulin

Each type of insulin helps keep diabetes under control. But no one type is right for everyone. Each person's insulin need is different. And each person's insulin need may change over time.

Insulin analogs are preferred by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, or AACE. Your doctor and diabetes care team will prescribe the insulin that is best for you.

Taking insulin

The way you are able to take your insulin is constantly improving. For instance, there are insulin-delivery devices available that are prefilled with insulin. Devices like the NovoLog® FlexPen®, prefilled with NovoLog® (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection) insulin, are ready to use in just a few steps.

Indications and Usage

What is NovoLog® (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection)?

NovoLog® is a man-made insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.

Important Safety Information

Who should not use NovoLog®?

Do not use NovoLog® if your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemia) or you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking NovoLog®?

About all of your medical conditions, including liver, kidney, or heart problems.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to do either.
About all prescription and nonprescription medicines you take, including supplements, as your dose may need to change.

How should I take NovoLog®?

Eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after using NovoLog®, a fast-acting insulin, to avoid low blood sugar. Do not inject NovoLog® if you do not plan to eat right after your injection or bolus pump infusion.
Do not mix NovoLog® with any other insulin when used in a pump or with any insulin other than NPH when used with injections by syringe.
Do not change your dose or type of insulin unless you are told to by your health care provider.
Do not share needles, insulin pens, or syringes.
Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your health care provider.

What should I consider while using NovoLog®?

Alcohol, including beer and wine, may affect your blood sugar.
Be careful when driving a car or operating machinery. You may have difficulty concentrating or reacting if you have low blood sugar. Talk to your health care provider if you often have low blood sugar or no warning signs of low blood sugar.

What are the possible side effects of NovoLog®?

Low blood sugar, including when too much is taken. Some symptoms include sweating, shakiness, confusion, and headache. Severe low blood sugar can cause unconsciousness, seizures, and death.
Serious allergic reactions may occur. Get medical help right away, if you develop a rash over your whole body, have trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat, or sweating.
Other side effects include injection site reactions (like redness, swelling, and itching), skin thickening or pits at the injection site, swelling of your hands and feet, if taken with thiazolidinediones (TZDs) possible heart failure, vision changes, low potassium in your blood, and weight gain.

For more information, please click here for complete NovoLog® Prescribing Information.

NovoLog® is a prescription medicine.

Talk to your doctor about the importance of diet and exercise in your treatment plan.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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If you need assistance with prescription drug costs, help may be available. Visit pparx.org or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW.

Selected Important Safety Information

What are the possible side effects of NovoLog®?

• Low blood sugar, including when too much is taken. Some symptoms include sweating, shakiness, confusion, and headache. Severe low blood sugar can cause unconsciousness, seizures, and death.

• Other side effects include injection site reactions (like redness, swelling, and itching), skin thickening or pits at the injection site, swelling of your hands and feet, if taken with thiazolidinediones (TZDs) possible heart failure, vision changes, low potassium in your blood, and weight gain.

Please click here for additional Important Safety Information

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