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New Zealand Consumer Medicine Information
100 IU/ml solution for injection in cartridge
Insulin human (rDNA)
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using your insulin
Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
If you have any further questions, ask your doctor, nurse or your pharmacist.
This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even
if their symptoms are the same as yours.
If any of the side effects get serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet,
please tell your doctor, nurse or your pharmacist.
1. WHAT ACTRAPID
IS AND WHAT IT IS USED FOR
is human insulin used to treat diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a disease where your body
does not produce enough insulin to control the level of your blood sugar. Actrapid
is a fast-acting
insulin. This means that it will start to lower your blood sugar about ½ hour after you take it, and the
effect will last for approximately 8 hours. Actrapid
is often given in combination with longer-acting
2. BEFORE YOU USE ACTRAPID
Do not use Actrapid
In insulin infusion pumps.
If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to human insulin or any of the other ingredients in
(see 7 FURTHER INFORMATION).
If you suspect hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is starting (see 4. WHAT TO DO IN AN
If the cartridge or the device containing cartridge is dropped, damaged or crushed.
If it has not been stored correctly or been frozen (see 6.HOW TO STORE ACTRAPID
If the insulin does not appear clear and colourless.
Before using Actrapid
Check the label to make sure it is the right type of insulin.
Always check the cartridge, including the rubber stopper. Do not use it if any damage is seen or
if there is a gap between the rubber stopper and the white label band. Take it back to your
supplier. See your delivery system manual for further instructions.
Always use a new needle for each injection to prevent contamination.
Needles and Actrapid
must not be shared.
Take special care with Actrapid
If you have trouble with your kidneys or liver, or with your adrenal, pituitary or thyroid glands.
If you drink alcohol, watch for signs of a hypo and never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
If you exercise more than usual or if you want to change your usual diet, as this may affect your
blood sugar level.
If you are ill, carry on taking your insulin and consult your doctor.
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If you are going abroad: travelling over time zones may affect your insulin needs and the
timing of your injections. Consult your doctor if you are planning such travelling.
Using other medicines
Some medicines affect the way glucose works in your body and this may influence your insulin dose.
Listed below are the most common medicines which may affect your insulin treatment. Tell your
doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including
medicines obtained without a prescription. In particular, you should tell your doctor if you are using
any medicine mentioned below that may affect your blood sugar level.
Your need for insulin may change if you also take: other medicines for treatment of diabetes;
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI); beta-blockers; ACE-inhibitors; acetylsalicylic acid; anabolic
steroids; sulphonamides; oral contraceptives; thiazides; glucocorticoids; thyroid hormone therapy;
sympathomimetics; growth hormone; danazol; octreotide or lanreotide.
Thiazolidinediones (class of oral antidiabetic medicines used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes
Some patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart disease or previous stroke who are
treated with thiazolidinediones in combination with insulin may develop heart failure. Inform your
doctor as soon as possible if you experience signs of heart failure such as unusual shortness of breath or
rapid increase in weight or localised swelling (oedema).
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
If you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breast-feeding, please contact your doctor for advice.
Driving and using machines
If you drive or use tools or machines, watch out for signs of a hypo. Your ability to concentrate or to
react will be less during a hypo. Never drive or use machinery if you feel a hypo coming on. Discuss
with your doctor whether you can drive or use machines at all, if you have a lot of hypos or if you find
it hard to recognise hypos.
3. HOW TO USE ACTRAPID
Talk about your insulin needs with your doctor and nurse. Make sure you get Actrapid
your doctor and nurse have told you to use and follow their advice carefully.
If your doctor has switched you from one type or brand of insulin to another, your dose may have to be
adjusted by your doctor.
Eat a meal or snack containing carbohydrates within 30 minutes of the injection.
It is recommended that you measure your blood sugar regularly.
How to use this insulin
is for injection under the skin (subcutaneously). Always vary the sites you inject within
the same region, to reduce the risk of developing lumps or skin pitting (see 5. POSSIBLE SIDE
EFFECTS). The best places to give yourself an injection are: the front of your waist (abdomen); your
buttocks; the front of your thighs or upper arms. Your insulin will work more quickly if you inject it
around the waist.
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How to inject this insulin
Inject the insulin under the skin. Use the injection technique advised by your doctor or nurse
and as described in your delivery system manual.
Keep the needle under your skin for at least 6 seconds.
Keep the push button fully depressed
until the needle has been withdrawn. This will ensure correct delivery and limit possible flow of
blood into the needle or insulin reservoir.
After each injection, be sure to remove and discard the needle and store Actrapid
needle attached. Otherwise the liquid may leak out which can cause inaccurate dosing.
Do not refill Actrapid
cartridges are designed to be used with Novo Nordisk insulin delivery systems and NovoFine
If you are treated with Actrapid
and another insulin Penfill
cartridge, you should use two
insulin delivery systems, one for each type of insulin.
As a precautionary measure, always carry a spare insulin delivery device in case your Penfill
is lost or
4. WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
If you get a hypo
A hypo means your blood sugar level is too low.
The warning signs of a hypo may come on suddenly and can include: cold sweat; cool pale skin;
headache; rapid heart beat; feeling sick; feeling very hungry; temporary changes in vision; drowsiness;
unusual tiredness and weakness; nervousness or tremor; feeling anxious; feeling confused; difficulty in
If you get any of these signs, eat glucose tablets or a high sugar snack (sweets, biscuits, fruit juice),
Do not take any insulin if you feel a hypo coming on.
Carry glucose tablets, sweets, biscuits or fruit juice with you, just in case.
Tell your relatives, friends and close colleagues that if you pass out (become unconscious), they must
turn you on your side and seek medical advice straight away. They must not give you any food or drink
as it could choke you.
If severe hypoglycaemia is not treated, it can cause brain damage (temporary or permanent)
and even death.
If you have a hypo that makes you pass out, or a lot of hypos, talk to your doctor. The amount
or timing of insulin, food or exercise may need to be adjusted.
You may recover more quickly from unconsciousness with an injection of the hormone glucagon by
someone who knows how to use it. If you are given glucagon, you will need glucose or a sugary snack
as soon as you are conscious. If you do not respond to glucagon treatment, you will have to be treated
in a hospital. Seek medical advice after an injection of glucagon; you need to find the reason for your
hypo to avoid getting more.
Causes of a hypo
You get a hypo if your blood sugar gets too low. This might happen:
If you take too much insulin.
If you eat too little or miss a meal.
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If you exercise more than usual.
If your blood sugar gets too high
Your blood sugar may get too high (this is called hyperglycaemia).
The warning signs appear gradually. They include: increased urination; feeling thirsty; losing your
appetite; feeling sick (nausea or vomiting); feeling drowsy or tired; flushed, dry skin; dry mouth and a
fruity (acetone) smell of the breath.
If you get any of these signs, test your blood sugar level and test your urine for ketones if you can.
Then seek medical advice straight away.
These may be signs of a very serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. If you do not treat it, this
could lead to diabetic coma and eventually
Causes of hyperglycaemia
Having forgotten to take your insulin
Repeatedly taking less insulin than you need
An infection or a fever
Eating more than usual
Less exercise than usual
5. POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Like all medicines, Actrapid
can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Side effects reported very commonly (in more than 1 patient in 10)
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). See the advice in 4. WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY.
Side effects reported uncommonly (in less than 1 patient in 100)
Vision problems. When you first start your insulin treatment, it may disturb your vision, but the
disturbance is usually temporary.
Changes at the injection site (lipodystrophy). The fatty tissue under the skin at the injection site may
shrink (lipoatrophy) or thicken (lipohypertrophy). Changing the site with each injection may help to
reduce the risk of developing such skin changes. If you notice your skin pitting or thickening at the
injection site, tell your doctor or nurse. These reactions can become more severe, or they may change
the absorption of your insulin, if you inject in such a site.
Signs of allergy. Reactions (redness, swelling, itching) at the injection site may occur (local allergic
reactions). These usually disappear after a few weeks of taking your insulin. If they do not disappear,
see your doctor.
Seek medical advice immediately:
If signs of allergy spread to other parts of the body, or
If you suddenly feel unwell, and you: start sweating; start being sick (vomiting); have difficulty
in breathing; have a rapid heart beat; feel dizzy.
Painful neuropathy (pain due to nerve damage). If your blood sugar level improves very fast, you
may get nerve related pain, this is called acute painful neuropathy and is usually transient.
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Swollen joints. When you start taking insulin, water retention may cause swelling around your ankles
and other joints. Normally this soon disappears.
Side effects reported very rarely (in less than 1 patient in 10,000)
Diabetic retinopathy (eye disease related to diabetes which can lead to loss of vision). If you have
diabetic retinopathy and your blood sugar level improves very fast, the retinopathy may get worse. Ask
your doctor about this.
Serious allergic reaction to Actrapid
or one of its ingredients (called a systemic allergic reaction).
See also the warning in 4. WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY.
If any of the side effects get serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell
your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
6. HOW TO STORE ACTRAPID
Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
Do not use Actrapid
after the expiry date which is stated on the label and the carton after ‘EXP.’ The
expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
that is not being used is to be stored in the refrigerator at 2°C - 8°C, away from
the cooling element. Do not freeze.
that is being used or carried as a spare is not to be kept in a refrigerator.
You can carry it with you and keep it at room temperatures (below 25ºC) for up to 6 weeks.
Always keep the cartridge in the outer carton when you are not using it in order to protect it from light.
must be protected from excessive heat and light.
Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to
dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.
7. FURTHER INFORMATION
- The active substance is insulin human made by recombinant biotechnology. 1 ml contains 100 IU of
insulin human. 1 cartridge contains 3 ml equivalent to 300 IU.
- The other ingredients are zinc chloride, glycerol, metacresol, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid
and water for injections.
looks like and contents of the pack
The solution for injection comes as a clear, colourless, aqueous solution.
It is supplied in packs of 5 cartridges of 3 ml.
are trademarks owned by Novo Nordisk A/S,
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This leaflet was last approved in June 2012