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Any change of insulin dose should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changes in insulin strength, manufacturer, type (e.g. regular, NPH, analog, etc.), species (animal, human), or method of manufacture (rDNA versus animal-source insulin) may result in the need for a change in dosage.
Special care should be taken when the transfer is from a standard beef or mixed species insulin to a purified pork or human insulin. If a dosage adjustment is needed, it will usually become apparent either in the first few days or over a period of several weeks. Any change in treatment should be carefully monitored.
As with all insulin preparations, the time course of Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) action may vary in different individuals or at different times in the same individual and is dependent on dose, site of injection, blood supply temperature, and physical activity.
Adjustment of dosage of any insulin may be necessary if patients change their physical activity or their usual meal plan. Insulin requirements may be altered during illness, emotional disturbances, or other stresses.
Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) should only be used if it is clear and colorless. Due to the risk of precipitation in some pump catheters, Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) is not recommended for use in insulin pumps.
Hypoglycemia and hypokalemia - As with all insulin preparations, hypoglycemic and hypokalemic reactions may be associated with the administration of Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) , particularly via the IV route. Rapid changes in serum glucose levels may induce symptoms of hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes, regardless of the glucose value. Early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia may be different or less pronounced under certain conditions, such as long duration of diabetes, diabetic nerve disease, use of medications such as beta-blockers, or intensified diabetes control (see PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS). Such situations may result in severe hypoglycemia (and, possibly, loss of consciousness) prior to patients' awareness of hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia can result in temporary or permanent impairment of brain function and death. Insulin stimulates potassium movement into the cells, possibly leading to hypokalemia that left untreated may cause respiratory paralysis, ventricular arrhythmia, and death. Since intravenously administered insulin has a rapid onset of action, increased attention to hypoglycemia and hypokalemia is necessary. Therefore, glucose and potassium levels must be monitored closely when Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) or any other insulin is administered intravenously.
In certain cases, the nature and intensity of the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia may change A few patients have reported that after being transferred to human insulin, the early warning symptoms for hypoglycemia had been less pronounced than they were with animal-source insulin.
Hyperglycemia and ketosis - Hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma may develop if the patient takes less Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) than needed to control blood glucose levels. This could be due to insulin demand during illness or infection, neglect of diet, omission or improper administration of prescribed insulin doses. A developing ketoacidosis will be revealed by urine tests which show large amounts of sugar and acetone. The symptoms of polydipsia, polyurea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry skin and deep and rapid breathing come on gradually, usually over a period of some hours or days. Severe sustained hyperglycemia may result in diabetic coma or death.
Renal Impairment- As with other insulins, the dose requirements for Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) may be reduced in patients with renal impairment.
Hepatic Impairment - As with other insulins, the dose requirements for Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) may be reduced in patients with hepatic impairment.
Allergy - Local Allergy - As with other insulin therapy, patients may experience redness, swelling, or itching at the site of injection. These minor reactions usually resolve in a few days to a few weeks, but in some occasions, may require discontinuation of Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) . In some instances, these reactions may be related to factors other than insulin, such as irritants in a skin cleansing agent or poor injection technique.
Systemic Allergy - Less common, but potentially more serious, is generalized allergy to insulin which may cause rash (including pruritus) over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, rapid pulse, or sweating. Severe cases of generalized allergy, including anaphylactic reaction, may be life threatening.
Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with the use of cresol as an injectable excipient.
Usage in Pregnancy
It is particularly important for patients to maintain good control of diabetes during pregnancy and special attention must be paid to diet, exercise and insulin regimens. Female patients should be advised to tell their physician if they intend to become, or if they become pregnant
As with all insulin therapy, the therapeutic response to Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) should be monitored by periodic blood glucose tests. Periodic measurement of glycosylated hemoglobin is recommended for the monitoring of long-term glycemic control. Urine ketones should be monitored frequently.
When Novolin R (recombinant dna origin) is administered intravenously, glucose and potassium levels must be closely monitored to avoid potentially fatal hypoglycemia and hypokalemia.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/5/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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