Humulin or Lantus? When my daughter, who was 8, was first diagnosed the Children’s Hospital that was treating her put her on an insulin program of short acting Humalog NPH and long acting Humalin N. You should have seen me that first day of training after a long night in the emergency room where she was diagnosed. I was a raving lunatic to begin with so my brain was mostly mush at that point. Add to that everything began with “H”. Mix this “H” with that “H” but first charge this “H” with air, then draw this “H” first followed by that “H” but make sure you roll this “H” between your palms and for crying-out-loud don’t shake that “H”. Anyway I guess osmosis worked and all of that information finally seeped in. We were officially diabetic now.
For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Humalog and Humalin (short and long acting insulins) are mixed in the same syringe and injected 3 times a day usually before meals. Your child is allowed a certain amount of carbohydrates for each meal that the doctor figures out based on age, weight, etc., and that’s your number. My daughter’s was 65 carbs max per meal and 35 max per snack. However your child hits their magic number that’s it. Whether it’s 65 slices of ham or half a pop-tart. Plus she had to eat 6 times a day at certain times everyday.
Well the time came when she decided she wanted a little more freedom of choice and asked me about trying Lantus. My first thought was if it’s not broke don’t fix it. But I can have a cupcake whenever I want so I decided my opinion was secondary. So we looked into it. Lantus is a long lasting insulin. One shot at night and she had a 24 hour basal dose of insulin. “One shot” I’m thinking to myself “that’s great”. But wait, you also have to take a shot of short acting insulin (a bolus) everytime you eat. 10 meals 10 shots, 3 meals, 3 shots. Even I could figure that out. You base the amount of short acting insulin on the number of carbs you are about to eat. Talk about freedom! Compared to what she had been doing it was like being re-born. she didn’t care that it would mean more shots. All she heard was she could eat what she wanted when she wanted. Birthday cake, pizza parties, popcorn at the movies, boy she was ready to go. The first thing she wanted to have was a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I looked at the chart on the wall and it read 125 carbohydrates. That was half a days carbs in a paper cup! After a couple of days of gluttony things got back to normal pretty quickly.
Remember that freedom I mentioned, it came at a price. This insulin regime is a lot of shots. Add those to the required blood tests and your talking about a lot of holes per day in a little girl. One more thing, her nighttime Lantus shot was 19 units. that’s a lot of insulin all at once. In her case it went in like battery acid. These shots are no fun. However, after several months on the Lantus regime her life and the rest of my family’s lives are pretty close to pre-diagnosis normal. All in all it was the right thing to do. If your doctor is suggesting Lantus or your child is asking about it, consider all of the above. We’re glad we did it.