Humulin vs Humalog – Comparison of Side Effects & Uses

Humulin R

It is the brand name of a medication called insulin regular, that is part of a class of medications known as hormones.

This synthetic hormone is used to take the place of insulin (which is normally produced by the body) and works by helping move sugar from the blood into other body tissues.

It is produced by Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company with the headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration originally approved it in 1982.

Uses

This injectable medication is used to control hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in people with diabetes mellitus.

Dosage

It is injected under the skin.

Notes – do not administer into an irritated or red skin area. Take it half an hour before a meal. It starts lowering blood glucose levels within 30 minutes of your injection and this effect lasts between 4 and 12 hours.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • mild weight gain;
  • mild pain or swelling at the injection site.

Rare side effects may include:

  • confusion;
  • muscle weakness or cramping;
  • changes in skin thickness at the injection site;
  • swelling of the mouth, lips, face, hands, ankles, feet, or tongue;
  • vision changes;
  • tightness in the chest;
  • chills;
  • persistent weight gain;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • mood changes;
  • wheezing;
  • painful numbness, burning or tingling;
  • slurred speech;
  • hives;
  • shortness of breath;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • irregular heartbeats.

Precautions

Before taking this medication, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • allergies to medications;
  • liver disease;
  • eye problems caused by diabetes;
  • kidney disease;
  • adrenal, pituitary, nerve, or thyroid problems;
  • heart failure.
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Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • steroids, like – prednisone;
  • aspirin or other salicylates (including Pepto-Bismol);
  • medications for asthma, allergies, and colds;
  • oral medications to treat diabetes;
  • diuretics (water pills);
  • birth control pills;
  • sulfa drugs, like – Septra or Bactrim;
  • medications for high blood pressure or heart problems;
  • antidepressants or antipsychotics;
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors;
  • thyroid medicines, like – Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium).

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known exactly whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. If you are breastfeeding a baby, talk to your healthcare provider before taking this synthetic hormone.

This medication is not expected to harm a developing fetus if taken during pregnancy. Still, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or might fall pregnant before taking this hormone.

Humalog

It is the brand name of a medication called insulin lispro, a fast-acting form of insulin.

The US Food and Drug Administration originally approved it in 1996.

Mechanism of Action

This synthetic hormone works in multiple ways to lower your blood glucose level, including by:

  • helping to control the overall breakdown and production of sugar in the body;
  • blocking the breakdown of proteins and fats;
  • preventing the liver from producing more glucose;
  • helping certain tissues in the human body to store glucose in their cells.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Common symptoms may include:

  • blurred vision;
  • increased thirst;
  • fatigue and weakness;
  • frequent urination;
  • irritability and other mood changes;
  • unintended weight loss;
  • extreme hunger;
  • bed-wetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed during the night.
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In some cases, this medication can be used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Dosage

It comes in 10 ml vials containing 100 units of insulin per ml solution. This medication is injected into a vein or under the skin.

Note – use this medication within 15 minutes before a meal, or right after eating.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • weight gain;
  • joint pain;
  • collection of fatty tissue at the site of injection;
  • increased risk of flu-like symptoms.

Rare side effects may include:

  • life-threatening allergic reactions;
  • low potassium levels in the blood;
  • low blood sugar;
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, and lower legs;
  • changes in skin thickness at the injection site.

Contraindications

You shouldn’t take this medication if:

  • your blood sugar is currently very low;
  • you are allergic to this synthetic hormone.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • psych drugs, such as – Risperdal (risperidone) or Invega (paliperidone);
  • beta blockers, such as – Trandate (labetalol), Tenormin (atenolol), or Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate);
  • other diabetes drugs, such as – Glyset (miglitol) or Starlix (nateglinide);
  • drugs which contain glipizide, like – Glucotrol or Metaglip;
  • sulfonylureas, such as – Diabeta (glyburide);
  • estrogen-containing drugs;
  • Saxenda or Victoza (liraglutide).

Pregnancy & Breastfeedingpregnant

This medication is not expected to harm a developing fetus if taken during pregnancy. Still, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or might fall pregnant before taking this hormone.

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It is not known exactly whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. If you are breastfeeding a baby, talk to your healthcare provider before taking this synthetic hormone.

Bottom Line – Humulin vs Humalog

Humulin R (active ingredient – insulin regular) is a medication which is injected to improve blood sugar control in adults with diabetes. This medication works to lower levels of sugar in the blood. This type of insulin analog takes 30 minutes to reach the bloodstream after injection.

Humalog (active ingredient – insulin lispro) is a medication that is used to treat type 1 diabetes in adults and children who are at least 3 years old. It is a fast-acting insulin which starts to work about 15 minutes after injection and keeps working for 2 to 4 hours.

In conclusion, Humalog is a rapid-acting insulin and Humulin R is a short-acting insulin. Humalog should be taken within 15 minutes before you eat or immediately after you take your meal, while Humulin R should be administered 30 minutes before you eat.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 1 vial (10ml) of Humulin R 100 units/ml is $99, while the average retail price for 1 carton of Humalog 100 units/ml is $50.

References

https://pi.lilly.com/us/humulin-r-pi.pdf
https://www.nrsng.com/regular-insulin-short-acting/
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/018780s120lbl.pdf

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