How does this medication work?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, an organ in our body, that helps regulate glucose (sugar) levels from the food we eat. For those with diabetes, their body may not produce enough insulin or use it efficiently. Since insulin cannot be stored or used properly, it accumulates in the bloodstream.
As a result, those with diabetes are prescribed insulin by their doctor which is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) to help manage their glucose levels.
There are several types of insulin that are absorbed at different rates and vary on their duration.
Novolin ge 50/50 is a premixed insulin that combines an intermediate acting insulin (insulin NPH) with a fast-acting insulin (insulin regular). Patients find using the ratio with this premixed insulin to work best for them.
This premixed insulin starts working after 30-60 minutes after injection and has a maximum effect between 2-8 hours and lasts up to 18 hours.
A physician may have prescribed this medication for reasons not discussed here. If you are unsure why you were prescribed this medication, consult with your doctor. Do not stop taking your medication unless instructed by your doctor.
Insulin medication should not be shared with anyone else even if they share similar symptoms. This medication can be harmful for those who have not received a prescription from their doctor.
What form does Novolin ge 50/50 come in?
Novolin ge 50/50 comes in a penfill cartridge. Each mL contains 100 units of insulin (50 units of insulin isophane, human biosynthetic – NPH insulin and 50 units of regular insulin). Other non-medical ingredients contained in Novolin ge 50/50 include: metacresol, phenol, protamine sulphate, sodium hydroxide and/or hydrochloric acid, zinc chloride, glycerol, disodium phosphate dihydrate and water for injection.
How is Novolin ge 50/50 used?
Your doctor will prescribe your insulin dosage based on several factors such as how much natural insulin your body produces, overall lifestyle and health, blood glucose values and other factors.
Insulin is taken by injecting under the skin. Your doctor or nurse will instruct you on how to administer your medication. When taking your dose of insulin, do not inject into a muscle or vein. Insulin is measured in international units (IU) and each mL contains 100 IU. Novolin ge 50/50 is commonly taken 30 minutes before certain meals (typically before breakfast or dinner). There are various ways to take insulin but it’s best to follow the guidance of your doctor.
Before using premixed insulin, roll the bottle between your hands. The suspension should appear white and cloudy. Refrain from using insulin if it appears unusually thick, grainy, lumpy, sticks to the bottle or vial or appears discolored. Do not use if suspension remains clear after rolling between your hands.
Storing Novolin ge 50/50
- Keep unopend insulin in the refrigerator until needed.
- Use until expiry date. Discard when expired.
- Do not store near a heating element or direct sunlight
- Keep away from children or pets
- Never allow insulin to freeze
- Insulin that is kept at room temperature is good up until 28 days
There are several factors which can affect the medications dosage such as a persons body weight, existing medical conditions and other medications they are currently taking. Do not change your dose without consulting your doctor first.
It is important to follow your doctors instructions for taking this medication. When you take you insulin relative to meal times is crucial to maintaining your glucose levels and avoiding side effects.
Do not dispose of medication in a trash bin or down waste water (ie toilet or sink). Speak to your pharmacist about how to properly dispose of your medication when it is no longer needed or expired.
Who should not take this premixed insulin?
Novolin ge 50/50 premixed insulin should not be taking by anyone who:
- have an allergy to any ingredients in this premixed insulin
- have low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia)
- are in a diabetic coma
A side effect is an unwanted response due to normal dosages of a medication. Side effects can range from temporary to permanent and mild to severe. If you are concerned about any of the side effects associated with this medication, consult with your doctor about the possible risks.
The side effects listed below have been reported in 1% of patients who have taken this medication. Most of the side effects can be managed and go away with time.
Speak to your doctor if you experience any side effects. Your pharmacist may be able to provide additional information on how to better manage side effects. If side effects are not managed they may lead to serious health complications that may require immediate medical attention.
- redness, swelling and itching at site of injection
- blurred vision
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty speaking
- rapid heartbeat
- numbing or tingling of the fingers, lips or tongue
If you experience any of the following, stop taking medication and seek medical attention.
- blisters and rash all over body
- symptoms of serious allergic reactions (ie difficulty breathing, swelling of face or throat)
If you experience any side effects than the ones listed above please inform you doctor.
Warning & Precautions
Before you start taking Novolin ge 50/50, be sure to inform your doctor of any existing medical conditions, allergies, medications you are currently taking, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding and important facts about your health. This information can affect dosage or how you take this medication.
If you experience any signs of serious allergic reactions such as swelling of the face or neck, wheezing, difficulty breathing or itchy skin or rashes, stop taking this medication and consult a doctor.
Appearance of insulin
The insulin should appear cloudy and white. Do not use if you notice the contents of the vial remains clear after you roll the suspension in your hands, appears discolored, is unusually thick, looks grainy or lumpy, sticks to the vial, seems unusually thick, contains crystals or if the bottle looks frosted.
Blood glucose monitoring
For anyone taking insulin, it’s important to monitor your blood glucose levels reguarly and as instructed by your doctor or nurse. It is extremely important to check your glucose levels after travelling to different time zones, skipping meals, are ill or under stress. If blood glucose levels are showing too high or low then you should contact your doctor.
Rotate injection site
Fatty tissue under the skin of the injection site may thicken or shrink after repeated use in the same location. To avoid this, rotate injection sites when administering insulin. Let your doctor know if you notice any pitting or thickening at the injection site.
Many factors can affect blood glucose levels and insulin requirements such as:
- certain medical conditions (ie thyroid conditions, kidney or liver disease, infections)
- certain medications that affect blood glucose levels
- travelling across different time zones
It is important to keep your doctor informed of your medical situation, medical concerns or changes that may impact your insulin dosage. Your doctor should instruct you on how to monitor blood glucose levels and frequency.
It is important to carry identification that lets other know that you are diabetic and take insulin such as a card, bracelt or necklace.
Family & Friends
It’s important to educate family and friends about common signs and symptoms such as hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Keep a glucagon kit available and instruct them on how to administer it in case you lose consciousness due to severely low blood glucose levels.
Hypoglycemia is caused by low blood glucose levels. This may occur if meals are missed, too much insulin is used or if you exercise more than you regularly do. Mild to moderate symptoms of hypoglycemia may include include: cold sweats, nervousness or shakiness, headache, confusion, hunger, weakness, lighheadedness, hunger, numbness or tingling of fingers, tips or lips, or fast heartbeat. Mild to moderate hypoglycemia can be treated by consuming a sugary snack such as jellybeans or hard candy, drinking a sugary beverage or juice or soft drink (non-diet) or taking a glucose tablet.
Signs of severe hypoglycemia may include disorientation, loss of consciousness and seizures. Since diabetics won’t be able to take sugar orally they may require glucose intravenously (into the vein) or an injection of glucagon.
It is important to managed blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Insulin requirements may be descreased during the first trimester and increased during the second and third trimesters. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on pregnancy.
Breast feeding mothers may require dietary changes and an adjustment to their insulin dosage.
Seniors may require lower doses of insulin to avoid low blood glucose.
Other drugs that may interact with Novolin ge 50/50 include:
- ACE inhibitors (ie. ramipril, lisinopril, enalapril)
- anabolic steroids
- birth control pills
- certain diuretics (ie hydrochlorothiazide)
- corticosteroids (ie prednisone, prednisolone)
- decongestants (ie pseudoephedrine)
- growth hormone
- MAO inhibitors (ie phenelzine, tranylcypromine)
- oral medications for diabetes (ie gliclazide, glyburide, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone)
- sulfa antibiotics (ie. sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine)
- thyroid replacement therapy (if beginning or dose changing)
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the medications listed above. Your doctor may decide to make adjustments such as:
- stopping one or more medications
- substitute medications
- change how you are taking medications or leave as is
A drug interaction does not always mean you have to stop taking them. Speak to your doctor on how to manage drug interactions or your medication regimen.
Certain medication not listed above may interact with Novolin ge 50/50. Inform your doctor of any prescription or over-the-counter medication, herbal medications or supplements you are taking. Since caffeine, nicotine and street drugs can interact with insulin, you should let your doctor know you are using them.