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Question:

From Georgia, USA:

My niece, age 28 months, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 21 months at which time she was placed on Humulin NPH 2 units in a.m. and 1 unit in p.m. which gave sporadic blood sugar levels, including several hypo's that led to seizure activity.

Recently she was switched over to the Novopen which required higher dosages to control sugar levels. The Novolin brand of insulin controls her diabetes much better than the Humulin brand. Why would the Novolin N provide better control than the Humulin N? She has not experienced any seizure activity due to the hypoglycemic episodes since she has started with the Novolin N. Her parents were under the impression that Humulin N and Novolin N provided the same effects; however, this was not the case with their daughter.

Since her diagnosis, her diet has not changed and she is still on the same eating schedule as when she was first diagnosed. Any information that you can provide that would be beneficial to her parents, I will appreciate your insight, as I am sure her parents will too.

Answer:

I agree that there should be no appreciable difference between the insulins you mention. However, diabetes control is not just about insulin and perhaps other things have changed, such as diet and meal timing or injection sites, although you suggest not. The manufacturers do say that if you change brands then you should do extra blood sugars for a while in case there is a different reaction. The requirement for more insulin may simply reflect the end of the honeymoon period or be related to growth.

KJR

Original posting 2 Dec 96

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