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September 28, 2003

Insulin

Question from Pakistan:

My five year old daughter, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about five months back, was using Humulin 30/70, and her sugar level was okay. Now, the doctor has changed her to Mixtard 30, and I am surprised. I heard that Humulin 30/70 is used for elderly patients so why did our doctor use that insulin and now switch to Mixtard? What type of insulin is this? How does it differ from the old one? Can she can use pens for this new insulin, and which is the best type of pens available? I heard a lot about needle-free injections and want to use one, will it help?

Answer:

Humulin 30/70 and Mixtard 30 are the same. They are just made by different companies. It is a mixture of three parts of Regular insulin with seven parts of NPH. Mixtard also comes in a variety of vials to fit pen dispensers. For a detailed review of pens, you should look at Insulin Pens.

DOB
Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:

Mixtard 30 the same as Humulin 70/30.

LD

[Editor’s comment: Also see Jet Injectors.

SS]

[Editor’s comment: In many parts of the world, premixed insulins are described with the rapid-acting insulin (the smaller percentage) mentioned first, then the longer-lasting (larger percentage) insulin, so a premix would be described as 30/70 (30% rapid-acting insulin and 70% longer-lasting insulin) or 20/80 (20% rapid-acting insulin and 80% longer-lasting insulin) or whatever. In the United States, however, the numerical descriptions are reversed: 70/30 would be 70% longer-lasting insulin, and 30% rapid-acting insulin. (And sometimes the manufacturers use different names in different countries: for example, from Novo Nordisk’s website about Mixtard 30 “Mixtard� 30 [in the EU and other countries]… In some countries this type of premixed insulin is marketed as Actraphane�. In the USA it is marketed as Novolin� 70/30.”)

The exact insulin types included in these premixed products also can vary: sometimes the rapid-acting product is Regular, and sometimes it’s a rapid-acting insulin analog.

Yes, it can be very confusing!

WWQ]