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Humulin N vs Humulin R. The Drug of Choice

Humulin N vs Humulin R. The Drug of Choice

by Lily Fortin 5 Oct 2021

Humulin brand for controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes is one of the most commonly used types of insulin out there. Introduced by Eli Lilly and Company, it is now among the most popular types of glucose level control medications, and today we would like to discuss those in more detail.

In today’s article, Humulin N and Humulin R are taking the spotlight. As many patients often confuse these two remedies, our professional team is going to compare those and explain all peculiarities and important info in more detail. Read, learn, and do not hesitate to ask questions after this publication if any of those occur!

Humulin N Insulin. What Do You Need to Know?


Humulin N insulin – human insulin analog medication for adults and children with diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2. This remedy belongs to the intermediate-acting insulin type and needs to be prescribed to a person by the doctor (as all insulin products for diabetes treatment). After the administration, the product starts working in 2 to 4 hours, reaches its peak in 4 to 12 hours, and stays effective for 12-18 hours (durability varies depending on the health peculiarities of a patient).

The solution itself is colorless, transparent, and cannot contain any particles (otherwise, a person cannot use it). The best time to use Humulin N is 15-20 minutes before eating or right after the meal; in this way, injected insulin can start working as soon as the glucose from the foods reaches the blood.

Usually, this product is prescribed together with short-acting insulin; however, this thing is 100% individual and cannot be decided by a person themselves. As was mentioned above, only qualified medical professionals may define the type, dosage, and frequency of the medication. Two kinds of medicine are available – Humulin N KwikPen and Humulin Vials.

Humulin R Insulin. Dosage, Purpose, Working Principle


Unlike the previous remedy, Humulin R (regular insulin human injection) is a short-acting insulin that can only be used in combination with a long-acting insulins type. The effect starts in 30 minutes after the injection, pick is reached in 2 to 3 hours, and it stays for 8 hours maximum. Use Humulin R after the meal, so it can control glucose levels in the blood effectively and prevent high blood sugar.

The medication should be carefully checked before using it because, if not colorless and transparent, it may cause complications in some individuals. This product will be more than perfect for patients with diabetes type 1 and 2, as well as for pregnant women with diabetes of the second type.

A dose of Humulin R for blood glucose control has to be calculated by a professional and cannot be changed by an individual. It is also not recommended to change the dose, the type of insulin that is usually injected, and the frequency of the medication administration without a doctor’s permission. Two types of medications are available for purchase – Humulin R U 500 KwikPen and Vials. Those are chosen depending on one’s preferences, comfort, and body peculiarities.

Humulin N and Humulin R. Side Effects and Contraindications

As two products from the same brand, side effects and contraindications for both Humulin N and R are pretty similar. The first and the most common side effects of Humulin people should be aware of is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This condition can be dangerous and even life-threatening if not taken under control on time. Pay attention to such symptoms as sudden pallor, fatigue, blurred vision, sudden mouth dryness, shortness of breath, and weakness. It is vital to deal with a hypoglycemia episode as soon as it appears; specialists recommend eating sweet foods and drinking sugary beverages, as well as taking glucose pills (those are available at any local pharmacy without a prescription). In more severe cases, a glucagon injection may be required to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.

Other possible symptoms that may appear after units of insulin were administered include sudden weight gain, eyesight problems, weak muscles, sudden mood changes, and injection site reactions (rash, redness, swelling, bruising in the places of puncture, and so on). These should be gone without the doctor’s assistance pretty fast, so there should be no worries if any of the symptoms mentioned above appear.

Speaking about contraindications, there are two main aspects that should be considered:

  • Hypersensitivity to any ingredient of Humulin medications;
  • Current hypoglycemia episode.

Also, mind that pregnant and breastfeeding women require a special calculation and prescription from a medical professional; for this, careful examination in the hospital is necessary. The same situation is with people who suffer from liver dysfunction or impaired renal function.

Main Similarities and Differences of Both Products

Humulin R and N are created by the same company, yet there are still some differences that distinguish them from one another. So now, let’s discuss those in more detail.


  • Active substance. Both injections have a suspension of regular human insulin in their base;
  • Side effects of Humulin R and Humulin N. Injection site reactions, weight gain, slight nausea, and other common symptoms are possible after both products;
  • Administration technique. As with all insulin and insulin-like medications, Humulin brand needs to be injected into the abdomen, thighs, upper arm, or (more rarely) buttocks. Specialists recommend switching the spot after each session to avoid increased sensitivity and bump formation under the skin;
  • Storage conditions. Most insulin medications should be stored in the fridge at a temperature from 2°C to 8°C and cannot be frozen. Not only that, but after opening, you should keep Humulin at a temperature not higher than 25°C and use it up in 28 days.


  • Acting time. Humulin N belongs to an intermediate-acting type of insulin when Humulin R is a short-acting one. As followed, the first kind stays active in the body up to 18 hours after the administration, and the maximum of the second one is 8 hours;
  • Insulin concentration. As the N-type is a longer-acting one, the concentration of the active substance in it is higher than in the R-type;
  • Target audience. Humulin R can be used not only by those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus but also by women with gestational diabetes. Humulin N, on the other hand, is suitable only for those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

To Sum Up

As you may see, even though both products from the Humulin brand are pretty similar (as they are made by the same manufacturer), there are still some vital differences that should be considered when choosing the correct remedy. Depending on the patient’s health, the type of diabetes, and other important factors, a medical professional can choose the proper insulin for them.

You can purchase insulin Humulin both in your local pharmacies, as well as at online ones. Here, at Insulin.Store, we offer the best Canadian prices, fast delivery to the US, a wide range of various diabetes mellitus medicines, and great ordering conditions. And don’t forget – you may only purchase insulin if you have a valid medical prescription from the health care provider, so keep that in mind. Thank you for reading, hope you found some valuable information here!

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