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Novolin N (Generic Human Insulin Injection)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Novolin N is a brand name for a type of insulin called NPH insulin. It is prescribed to manage diabetes mellitus, a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Novolin N is a intermediate-acting insulin that helps regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.

Here are the main reasons why Novolin N may be prescribed:

  • Type 1 diabetes: People with type 1 diabetes have a complete deficiency of insulin production in their bodies. Novolin N, along with other types of insulin, is prescribed to replace the missing insulin and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not effectively use the insulin it produces. Novolin N may be prescribed to help lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
  • Combination therapy: Novolin N can be used in combination with other types of insulin, such as rapid-acting insulin, to provide both short-term and long-term blood sugar control. This combination therapy may be prescribed for individuals who require more intensive insulin management.

How should this medicine be used?

Novolin N, which is a brand name for NPH insulin, should be used according to the instructions provided by your healthcare professional. Here are some general guidelines for using Novolin N, but please consult your doctor or pharmacist for specific instructions tailored to your individual needs:

  • Administration: Novolin N is typically administered via subcutaneous injection, which means it is injected under the skin. It should not be taken orally or by any other route unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Injection sites: The most common injection sites for Novolin N are the abdomen (around the navel), thighs, and upper arms. Rotate injection sites within the same general area to help prevent lipoatrophy (thinning of the fat tissue) or hypertrophy (thickening of the fat tissue).
  • Mixing insulin: If your healthcare provider prescribes a combination therapy involving Novolin N and a rapid-acting insulin, such as Novolin R, you may need to mix the two insulins in the same syringe. Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional on how to properly mix the insulins.
  • Dosage: The dosage of Novolin N will depend on various factors, including your blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and individual needs. Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate starting dose and may adjust it over time based on your response and blood sugar monitoring results.
  • Timing: Novolin N is an intermediate-acting insulin, which means it takes effect within 1-2 hours, reaches its peak activity in 4-12 hours, and lasts for approximately 12-24 hours. Your healthcare provider will advise you on the best timing for your injections, which may include once or twice daily dosing.
  • Monitoring: Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels as recommended by your healthcare provider. This will help you and your doctor assess the effectiveness of your treatment and make any necessary adjustments to your insulin dosage.
  • Storage: Novolin N should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). Do not freeze it. If needed, you can keep a vial or pen of Novolin N at room temperature (between 59°F and 86°F or 15°C and 30°C) for up to 42 days, but avoid exposure to excessive heat or sunlight.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s important to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider. They will provide you with detailed guidance on the correct usage, dosage, and monitoring of Novolin N to ensure safe and effective diabetes management.

Other uses for this medicine

Novolin N, which contains NPH insulin, is primarily used for the management of diabetes mellitus. However, there are no other widely accepted therapeutic uses for Novolin N outside of diabetes management. It is important to note that the use of Novolin N or any insulin product for non-approved indications should be done only under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions, here are some important considerations to keep in mind when using Novolin N:

  • Hypoglycemia: Novolin N, like other insulins, can lower blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur if the insulin dose is too high or if it is not balanced with food intake or physical activity. It is essential to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, confusion, and rapid heartbeat. If hypoglycemia occurs, consume a source of glucose or contact your healthcare provider for guidance.
  • Hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis: If Novolin N is not used as prescribed or if the dosage is inadequate, it can result in high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) or a potentially life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Symptoms of hyperglycemia include increased thirst, frequent urination, fruity breath odor, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to insulin products, including Novolin N. Signs of an allergic reaction may include skin rash, itching, shortness of breath, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any allergic symptoms after using Novolin N.
  • Medication interactions: Certain medications can interact with Novolin N, affecting its efficacy or increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider before using Novolin N. Insulin requirements may change during these periods, and your healthcare provider will guide you on the appropriate insulin management.
  • Medical conditions: Inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have, including liver or kidney disease, heart problems, or any other significant health condition. These factors can affect insulin requirements and may require adjustments to your treatment plan.

It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidance when using Novolin N. They will provide you with personalized advice based on your specific medical history and needs, ensuring the safe and effective use of this medication.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Dietary Instructions for Novolin N:

  • Meal Timing: Novolin N is an intermediate-acting insulin that is typically taken before meals. It’s important to follow a consistent meal schedule to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Carbohydrate Counting: Your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can help you determine the appropriate carbohydrate intake for each meal while taking Novolin N. This will help you match your insulin dosage to your meal content.
  • Balanced Diet: Aim for a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary or highly processed foods.
  • Portion Control: Monitoring portion sizes can help manage your blood sugar levels. Consider using measuring cups, food scales, or visual references to estimate appropriate portions.
  • Consistency: Try to maintain consistency in your meal composition and timing. This can help regulate your blood sugar levels and optimize the effectiveness of your medication.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Regarding missed doses, if you forget to take a dose of Novolin N, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. It’s important to discuss missed doses and any concerns with your healthcare provider, as they can provide specific instructions based on your individual circumstances.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Novolin N (NPH insulin) may cause certain side effects, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects associated with Novolin N include:

  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is the most common side effect of Novolin N. Symptoms of hypoglycemia may include sweating, trembling, dizziness, confusion, weakness, headache, hunger, blurred vision, and rapid heartbeat. It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, and take appropriate actions to treat low blood sugar if it occurs.
  • Injection site reactions: Some individuals may experience redness, swelling, itching, or pain at the injection site. These reactions are usually mild and tend to go away on their own. Rotating injection sites and proper injection techniques can help minimize these reactions.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions: In rare cases, Novolin N may cause allergic reactions. Signs of an allergic reaction may include skin rash, itching, swelling, shortness of breath, or dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms after using Novolin N, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Lipodystrophy: Prolonged use of insulin injections at the same site can lead to changes in the fatty tissue under the skin, causing either lipoatrophy (thinning of fat) or lipohypertrophy (thickening of fat). To minimize the risk of lipodystrophy, it is important to rotate injection sites as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Weight gain: Insulin therapy, including Novolin N, can sometimes lead to weight gain. This is because insulin promotes the storage of glucose and can increase appetite. It is important to follow a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity to help manage weight.
  • Other side effects: Other less common side effects of Novolin N may include vision changes, fluid retention or swelling, low potassium levels, and localized allergic reactions.

It’s important to discuss any side effects or concerns with your healthcare provider. They can provide you with more information, offer strategies to manage side effects, and adjust your treatment plan if necessary. Promptly reporting any unexpected or severe side effects is essential for your safety and wellbeing.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Refrigeration: Novolin N should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). Do not freeze the medication.
  • Room temperature storage: If needed, an opened vial or pen of Novolin N can be kept at room temperature (between 59°F and 86°F or 15°C and 30°C) for up to 42 days. Avoid exposure to excessive heat or direct sunlight. Discard the medication if it has been stored at room temperature for longer than the recommended period or if it shows signs of damage or contamination.
  • Protect from light: Novolin N should be stored in its original packaging or in a dark-colored container to protect it from light.


  • Used needles and syringes: Dispose of used needles and syringes in a puncture-resistant container, such as a sharps container, to prevent accidental needle sticks. Follow local regulations or guidelines for proper disposal of sharps containers.
  • Unused medication: If you have unused or expired Novolin N, consult your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or local waste management authorities for proper disposal instructions. Do not dispose of medication in household trash or flush it down the toilet or sink unless specifically instructed to do so.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Hypoglycemia: If you experience severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or become unconscious due to low blood sugar, it’s important to have a glucagon kit available. Glucagon is a hormone that can be injected to raise blood sugar levels in emergencies. Inform your family members, close contacts, or caregivers about your diabetes and provide them with instructions on how to use the glucagon kit.
  • Contact emergency services: In case of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or other life-threatening emergencies, call emergency services immediately (such as 911 in the United States) for appropriate medical assistance.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular monitoring: Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels as recommended by your healthcare provider. This will help you and your doctor assess the effectiveness of your treatment and make any necessary adjustments to your insulin dosage.
  • Medication changes: Inform your healthcare provider if there are any changes in your medications, including starting or stopping other medications, as they may interact with Novolin N.
  • Travel considerations: If you are traveling, make sure to carry your Novolin N and supplies with you. Take precautions to protect your insulin from extreme temperatures and keep it easily accessible in case of emergencies.
  • Follow-up appointments: Keep regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your diabetes management, adjust your treatment plan if needed, and address any concerns or questions you may have.

Always consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for specific instructions, recommendations, and any additional information regarding the storage, disposal, emergency protocols, and general use of Novolin N based on your individual needs and circumstances.

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