Humalog is the brand name for insulin lispro, a fast-acting insulin which begins to work within 15 minutes after the initial injection. It peaks after about an hour and continues to work for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Humalog is used to improve blood sugar in children and adults with diabetes mellitus, adults with type 2 diabetes, and type 1 diabetes in adults and children at least 3 years of age.
Humalog should be used as part of a wellness program that should also include diet, exercise, foot care, weight control, eye and dental care, as well as testing blood sugar.
Humalog is administered by injection under the skin or into a vein through an IV. Injections are done at home to maintain blood sugar levels. It can also be administered using an insulin pump.
As a fast-acting insulin, Humalog is used to moderate and control blood sugar levels in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes have a pancreas that cannot produce insulin.
There are many factors doctors consider when deciding on the dosage of Humalog for a patient. For adults and children ages 3 and older, weight, blood sugar level at the time Humalog is injected and the number of carbs consumed will determine the amount of Humalog to administer. Both the Humalog self-injectable insulin and the Kwikpen come in 100 unit/ML doses.
Why Is Humalog Prescribed?
Humalog is beneficial for multiple types of diabetes and is beneficial to those unable to regulate their body’s glucose and insulin levels through diet and exercise alone. It is a faster alternative to oral tablets as it reaches the bloodstream much quicker; although, it can be used with other oral diabetes medications such as glyburide or Glynase.
Humalog helps the body transfer insulin from the bloodstream to muscles and tissues. Since it works for both hypo- and hyperglycemic patients, it can help the body to store sugar in the liver and convert it to fat or muscle. It can also stop the liver from making glucose and preventing the body from processing the fat or protein to get sugar. Dosages for children suffering from type 2 diabetes have not yet been established.
In administering Humalog, doctors are also actively preventing symptoms and complications associated with high blood sugar levels.
What Symptoms Does Humalog Treat?
Humalog treats symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in patients. It helps to alleviate:
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Blood sugar level more than 180 mg/dL
What Potential Risks Are Associated with Humalog?
Before beginning this medication, inform a doctor if the patient suffers from liver or kidney disease, low levels of potassium in the bloodstream, is allergic to insulin. Physicians and pharmacists should be kept up-to-date on all prescription changes to minimize the risk of interactions.
Common side effects of Humalog include, but are not limited to:
- Low blood sugar
- Itching, mild skin rash
- Thickening of the skin at the injection site
- Weight gain
- Swelling of hands and/or feet
Seek immediate medical attention if there are any symptoms of an allergy to Humalog:
- Fluid retention – weight gain, swelling in extremities, feeling short of breath
- Low potassium – leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, or numbness or tingling sensation.
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Itchy skin rash
- Swelling in throat or tongue
One of the primary food interactions for Humalog is carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates consumed can have a direct impact on blood sugar levels. Limiting carbs is beneficial to allow the drug to balance out blood sugar levels effectively.
Blood sugar can be directly impacted when drinking alcohol while on Humalog.
Interactions With Other Medications
Other medications may alter the effectiveness of Humalog:
- Diabetes drugs such as metformin, glyburide, glipizide
- High blood pressure medication – enalapril, lisinopril, captopril
- Heart rate disorder drugs – such as disopyramide
- Pain medications – such as aspirin and other salicylate medications
- Blood thinners – such as pentoxifylline
- Antibiotics – antimicrobials, sulfisoxazole, and sulfamethoxazole
- Allergy medication – corticosteroids, epinephrine, albuterol, terbutaline
- Oral contraceptives – estrogens or progesterone
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs – ritonavir or saquinavir
- Medication to reduce heart disease risk – niacin or water pills (diuretics)
- High blood pressure and heart drugs – propranolol, atenolol, clonidine, or reserpine
These medications may also lower or increase blood sugar levels. Adjust the Humalog dose accordingly to ensure it remains effective to its initial purpose.