Humalog is a rapid-acting (bolus) insulin that is injected multiple times a day. Your doctor will prescribe instructions to either inject before or after a meal and possibly have "corrective" dosage if your blood glucose level remains high several hours after a meal or snack.
The effects typically start within one hour of injecting, peak at 2-4 hours after injecting, and are supposed to last for up to 6 hours.
I started using Humalog with a pre-filled pen (the one at the top right) called the KwikPen. This is a unit that is disposable. Once the insulin cartridge is empty, throw out the pen and use a new one. There are no choices in KwikPen products, the colour you get is dark greyish blue and it is a plastic product. It is not easy to be discreet with KwikPen ... while it does look like a marker, it is also has all the labels that emphasize it is a medical product. The KwikPen comes packaged five to a box (if you need a case, you will have to buy one).
KwikPen can use BD style needles in various sizes. (BD = Becton Dickinson). These are available in 4mm (Nano), 5mm, 8mm, and 12.7mm. I use the 4mm Nano needles and they seem perfect. BD 4mm Nano needles are packaged in a box containing 10 bags each with 5 needles.
I am quite disappointed with the Humalog product. I initially got three boxes (15 KwikPens) and all three boxes were defective. First, it appeared that the boxes had contents that leaked. The paper instructions were stuck together like a gel
I also found that the Humalog injections are not consistent. If you inject regularly like I do, you get a sense of when the insulin kicks in, when it peaks, and how long it lasts. It is hard to describe, it is just a sensation, and not a scientific point. With the Humalog, it did not feel right ... so I tested up to 16 times a day and confirmed through the glucometer that the Humalog was not acting properly.had spilled. The insulin in the cartridges did not seem to flow like my other insulin cartridges, it seemed thicker. I also found every single pen had air bubbles and no attempt to rid of these bubbles worked.
I returned the pre-filled KwikPen and made the switch to the HumaPen Luxura. While the KiwkPen is a great and convenient product, I have to inject insulin for the rest of my life ... I want my supplies to be more personalized. The HumaPen Luxura fits the bill, it is a more solid and less obtrusive pen that looks more like a high-end pen. The HumaPen Luxura is a bit heavier than the KwikPen and is apparently made of brass. It has a lifespan of 5 years. I have found it more solid, not only in feeling, but in actual use. I do not like the dose dial, though, it feels loose and I have to alter the position of the HumaPen to verify the dial is actually on the right dosage number. The HumaPen Luxura includes a single pen hard shell case a recess for the pen and recesses for up to three needles. The case is not useful at all and I have set it aside. I used to carry my HumaPen in the Sanofi-Aventis case along with my ClikStar. I also need to point out that the Humalog cartridges that I use with the HumaPen Luxura also contain air bubles that are hard to get rid of. I am not overly concerned with this affecting my health – you have to inject insulin with the dial facing up, which means air bubbles rise away from the needle and are not likely to end up injected in your body. It is still a concern however indicating poor manufacturing and quality control. Certainly does not make me feel comfortable about quality of this product.
On December 10 2013, I had an appointment with my dietician and RN. We discussed the problems I encountered with the HumaPen Luxura. Apparently this pen has been replaced with the HumaPen Savvio (shown at left). They gave me one and I am satisfied with it at this point. It addresses all the concerns I had about the pen itself. It is lighter weight, and the dosage dial is firm. With their help, I switched my partially used Humalog cartridge to the new HumaPen Savvio. I have since used it several times and am much more confident using the new HumaPen Savvio. The case for the HumaPen Savvio is soft sided and more useful than the other hard case HumaPen Luxura case. Both cases only accommodate one pen, however, so if you use both long-acting and meal time insulin you will need two cases or a custom case from a third-party.
Other than aesthetics and weight, there is not much difference between the KwikPen, the HumaPen Luxura or the HumaPen Savvio. The HumaPen Luxura and the HumaPen Savvio both use separate cartridges ... there are advantages and disadvantes to this. The only disadvantage I can think of is the minute or two it takes to insert the cartridge into the HumaPen. For advantages, the packaging is much smaller and a lot easier to store.
The HumaPen Savvio is available in six different colours.
In Ontario Canada, the HumaPen is available for free and includes the case. All you have to do is ask your pharmacy for it. You can also request a specific colour, most pharmacies carry many colours to choose from.
Humalog is a product of Eli Lilly.
PS. Since writing this, my Endocrinologist has switched me to Apidra.