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At 13 months our daughter developed diabetes. We see a juvenile endocrinologist at a major medical center every 3 months.

She was originally put on Humulin Regular and NPH. We found she reacted quickly to the Regular insulin, but consequently we would end up with a lot of low blood glucose readings. Recently (at 2 1/2 years old), she was switched to Iletin (Pork) Regular insulin and NPH. We were told that that is recommended for juveniles and won't spike like Humulin. Can you explain the difference and benefits are of the various insulin types?


Before the 1980's, the only insulin available was extracted from the pancreases of cows and pigs. As the structure of animal insulin is slightly different from that of human insulin, there were rare instance of allergy or resistance to insulin. In the 80's the technology to biosynthetically make insulin with the same structure as human insulin became available. Although there are fewer instances of allergy or resistance to human insulin, these problems still occur very rarely.

A surprising finding was that human insulin works faster and doesn't last as long than animal insulins. Some physicians have a strong preference for either pork or human insulin.

In my personal experience, there is a wide range of time of action of the same insulin preparation given to different people. Also, larger doses of the same insulin last longer than smaller doses in the same person.

Whatever insulin preparation you choose to use, it is important to try to analyze when the insulin works for you and try to adjust the insulin accordingly. I find in general, people who have the most difficulty regulating their blood sugar on one insulin, tend to have similar difficulties on other insulins - usually because the insulin is working in their body faster or longer than "average".


Original posting 13 Nov 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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