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March 20, 2001

Insulin

Question from Vernon, British Columbia, Canada:

My seven year old daughter currently uses Humulin NPH and Humalog. Last week, a doctor on TV made claims that Humulin Insulin has many unreported side effects, and that currently there is a class action suit against its manufacturer. He cited cases of death in patients using Human insulin. A CDA spokesperson refuted these claims on the same report. I can not seem to find any information on this. Do you have any information on unreported side effects of human insulin?

Answer:

There are those who wish to stir things up about human insulin. Seems strange to me, that one wishes to use insulin different from what we are, humans, and wishes to use insulin from pigs and cows. What is nice about human insulin is that is recombinant, that is, never in a living being, and therefore impossible to get any disease from.

Those who have no time except to rabble rouse are always with us. It is the same for anything in medicine — vaccines, certain drugs, maybe even chicken soup as far as I can tell.

One of the outcries from this group is hypoglycemia. Guess what, insulin can cause blood glucose to go too low,…but you already knew that. Indeed, if it goes too low for too long it can kill, but you knew that as well. We teach all about that in all of our classes and clinics. What people forget is that human insulin was introduced at the same time as home blood glucose monitoring. The DCCT showed us the need for tight control, and that if you push for tight control you see more hypos. Anyway, take good care of your child. You are using the right insulin.

LD

[Editor’s comment: I have a logic question to ask — If the side effects are indeed “unreported”, how did the doctor on TV learn that they exist?

WWQ]