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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 for NovoLog®

Who should not take NovoLog®?

Do not take NovoLog® if:

  • your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemia) or you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Before taking NovoLog®, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions including, if you are:

  • pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • taking new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including supplements.

Talk to your health care provider about how to manage low blood sugar.

How should I take NovoLog®?

  • Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed.
  • NovoLog® is fast-acting. Eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after taking it.
  • Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to.
  • Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them.
  • Do not share needles, insulin pens, or syringes. You may give or get an infection from another person.

What should I avoid while taking NovoLog®?

  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery, until you know how NovoLog® affects you.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that contain alcohol.

What are the possible side effects of NovoLog®?

Serious side effects can lead to death, including:

Low blood sugar. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • anxiety, irritability, mood changes, dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache.

Your insulin dose may need to change because of:

  • weight gain or loss, increased stress, illness, or change in diet or level of physical activity.

Other common side effects may include:

  • low potassium in your blood, injection site reactions, itching, rash, serious whole body allergic reactions, skin thickening or pits at the injection site, weight gain, and swelling of your hands and feet and if taken with thiazolidinediones (TZDs) possible heart failure.

Get emergency medical help if you have:

  • trouble breathing, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, sweating, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.

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

Who should not take NovoLog®?

Do not take NovoLog® if:

  • your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemia) or you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

How should I take NovoLog®?

  • Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed.
  • NovoLog® is fast-acting. Eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after taking it.
  • Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to.
  • Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them.
  • Do not share needles, insulin pens, or syringes. You may give or get an infection from another person.

Please click here for additional Important Safety Information

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