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Insulin

Last updated on 19/10/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Insulin

CHINESE NAME: 胰島素

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Humulin, Actrapid, Tresiba

DRUG CLASS: Endocrine drugs

SUB CLASS: Insulin

USED FOR: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 100U/ml, 200U/ml (injection)

What is Insulin for?

Insulin is a type of endogenous hormone used in the body for lowering the glucose level, once the blood glucose level goes up, after a meal or snack. It is to level out the peak in glucose level. In the case of diabetes, however, the level of glucose cannot be lowered because of two main reasons: the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to lower the glucose level, or the lack of insulin produced in the body to lower glucose level. Therefore, the use of insulin is needed in diabetic patients.

How to use it?

Insulin is taken only by subcutaneous injection into the thigh, upper arm, buttocks, or abdomen; do not administer IM or IV, or in an insulin pump.

There are different types of insulin, each with its onset of action and duration. The daily dosage of insulin may vary between individuals.

 Initial total daily dose is 0.4-0.5 units/kg/day, a lower dose may be needed to avoid hypoglycemia. Usual maintenance Total daily dose is 0.4-1 units/kg/day in divided doses.

What are the side effects of Insulin?

Common side effects of Insulin include injection site pruritus, swelling at injection site and hypoglycaemia.

Who should not take Insulin?

People who are allergic to regular insulin or any component of the formulation
– Patients during episodes of hypoglycemia

Pharmacist Tips:

– Apart from managing diabetes with the use of medicines, it is important to also manage with lifestyle changes, ie. Regular exercise at least half an hour everyday and avoid oily and high calorie food.
– It is important to rotate injection sites to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy, a syndrome where the fat accumulates under the skin and causes unusual appearance.

Common dosing schedule:
Insulin dose should be individualized. In general, the total daily dose is 0.4-1 units/kg/day.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Insulin may interact with:
– Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, ie. Selegiline, Rasagiline
Pioglitazone
– Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), ie. Citalopram, Fluoxetine

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Insulin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Insulin is a pharmacy only medicine and can be purchased without a prescription in a registered pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Insulin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.