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Insulin Human Isophane (NPH) (By injection)

Treats diabetes.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Humulin N, Humulin N Kwikpen, Humulin N Pen, Novolin N, Relion Novolin N
Drug classes About this
Antidiabetic
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Long acting insulin analogues versus NPH insulin (human isophane insulin) for type 2 diabetes mellitus

NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin is the current standard for basal insulin in the blood glucose lowering therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The mode of action of this insulin is highly variable, which may be the cause for the difficulties some people with diabetes have to achieve current goals for long‐term metabolic control. Therefore, new insulins which are thought to show more favourable properties of action have been developed: insulin glargine and insulin detemir. Because of their theoretical advantages, it is thought that treatment with these new insulin analogues might lead to a beneficial effect, for example less hypoglycaemia or a better metabolic control, possibly resulting in higher quality of life and treatment satisfaction less late diabetic complications such as problems with eyes, kidneys or feet and myocardial infarction, stroke or death.

Second- and Third-Line Pharmacotherapy for Type 2 Diabetes: Update [Internet]

In August 2010, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) published an Optimal Therapy Report which assessed the clinical and cost-effectiveness of second-line therapies for patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on metformin. The results from the CADTH review indicated that there were no apparent differences in efficacy across drug classes, and that sulfonylureas were the most cost-effective treatment option. Based on these analyses, the Canadian Optimal Medication Prescribing and Utilization Service (COMPUS) Expert Review Committee (CERC) recommended that most patients requiring a second treatment after metformin should be prescribed a sulfonylurea. CADTH followed this report with a Therapeutic Review which examined the evidence for third-line treatment options for adults with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on metformin and a sulfonylurea. The results demonstrated that insulins (basal, biphasic, bolus), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues, and thiazolidinediones (TZDs) all produced statistically significant reductions in hemoglobin A1C in combination with metformin and a sulphonylurea. Meglitinides and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, however, did not. The addition of insulin neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) to metformin plus a sulfonylurea was associated with the most favourable cost-effectiveness estimates. CADTH’s Therapeutic Review Panel (TRP) recommended that, for most adults with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on metformin and a sulfonylurea, insulin NPH should be added as the third-line agent. Long-acting insulin analogues at prices similar to insulin NPH were also considered an option for patients inadequately controlled on metformin and a sulfonylurea.

Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) in Children and Young People: Diagnosis and Management

Diabetes is a long-term condition that can have a major impact on the life of a child or young person, as well as their family or carers. In addition to insulin therapy, diabetes management should include education, support and access to psychological services, as detailed here and in this guideline. Preparations should also be made for the transition from paediatric to adult services, which have a somewhat different model of care and evidence base.

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Summaries for consumers

Long acting insulin analogues versus NPH insulin (human isophane insulin) for type 2 diabetes mellitus

NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin is the current standard for basal insulin in the blood glucose lowering therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The mode of action of this insulin is highly variable, which may be the cause for the difficulties some people with diabetes have to achieve current goals for long‐term metabolic control. Therefore, new insulins which are thought to show more favourable properties of action have been developed: insulin glargine and insulin detemir. Because of their theoretical advantages, it is thought that treatment with these new insulin analogues might lead to a beneficial effect, for example less hypoglycaemia or a better metabolic control, possibly resulting in higher quality of life and treatment satisfaction less late diabetic complications such as problems with eyes, kidneys or feet and myocardial infarction, stroke or death.

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