Canadian Diabetes Association Recommendations for Human and Animal Insulins, 1997

Oct 1, 1997

(Our) survey results indicate that for some people, changing insulins has a negative impact on their health, well-being and quality of life. People need more information as to the reasons for changing their insulin and they need to have the choice. They need the support of their physicians and their diabetes health care teams during this time of change-over. The (Canadian) National Advocacy Committee is committed to advocating for the continuation of beef/pork insulins for those whose health, well-being or quality of life will be affected by the change.

Diabetes Dialogue, Fall 1997, Canadian Diabetes Association

The following is the summary of a position statement that originally appeared in the June 1995 edition of Canadian Diabetes, a publication of the Canadian Diabetes Association's Clinical & Scientific Section.

After reviewing the evidence, the ad hoc committee came up with a list of recommendations and a protocol for switching insulins, which the Association du Diab_te du Qu_bec and the Canadian Diabetes Asso-ciation's Clinical & Scientific Section endorsed.

The key recommendations include:

  • Patients who can control their diabetes well with beef/pork insulin should continue on it.
  • Sometimes, switching to human insulin means increased injections. If patients are under control with beef/pork insulin and don't want more injections, that's another reason for staying with animal insulin.
  • Patients who believe they can feel low blood sugar better on animal insulin can try returning to it.
  • The small percentage of patients on animal insulin who have the problems mentioned earlier (allergies, losing fatty tissue at injection sites, resistance to insulin's effects) should switch to human insulin.
  • In cases where insulin is needed only intermittently, human insulin is better.

Who can decide on changing the type of insulin? That should be left to the endocrinologist or the treating physician. Except in emergencies, pharmacists are not authorized to exchange human insulins for beef/pork insulins. Unless their reasons are justified, medical professionals also shouldn't pressure patients to switch from animal to human insulins.

With that in mind, the ad hoc committee suggested that when switching insulins:

  • All transfers should be medically supervised.
  • Patients must receive detailed information about how the change will occur.
  • To effectively adjust the doses of insulin, patients must temporarily do more self blood sugar testing more often. If not, closer medical follow-up is required.
  • Patients who were previously on animal insulin should lower the initial dose of human insulin by 10 to 20 percent.
  • Patients can use the same dosage schedule if switching from Novo Nordisk's animal insulin to Eli Lilly's animal brand of insulin.

* * *

Adapted from the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Beef-Pork Insulins by Nahla Aris-Jilwan, MD; Pierre Malheux, MD; Tina Kader, MD; Alain Boisvert, B.Pharm, DPH, MSc; and Sara Meltzer, MD. Adapted by Stuart Foxman.

From the CDA web page:, added June 6, 1996.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Animal Insulin, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Government & Policy, Insulin, International, Novo Nordisk, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Comments 0 comments - Oct 1, 1997

©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.