Knowing what type of insulin you are taking is important to ensure you have been given the correct insulin product by the pharmacist. Errors can happen when the doctor is prescribing insulin, when the pharmacy is dispensing insulin or when the nurse, patient or caregiver adminsiters it. One reason this can happen is because there are so many different insulin products available, and some even have similar names. For example, there's Humalog and Humulin and Novolog and Novolin. The insulin safety resource center will give examples of how mix-up's can happen in the prescription or dispensing phase of your treatment and ways you can best assure that corrections are made.
Getting your prescription
The discussion regarding the type of insulin you will take and how often you will require it, starts with a conversation between you and your healthcare provider and diabetes educator, so it's important to pay attention and read all written materials. Each time you visit your doctor, even if you do not expect to change your insulin type, listen closely to the discussion.
Once a medical professional has prescribed insulin, he/she will give you a prescription or send an electronic one to your pharmacy. The prescription will indicate what type of insulin the pharmacist should give you, the dosage you should take, and when you will need to take it. If an electronic prescription is sent, request a duplicate copy for your records. This way, if the wrong insulin is given to you at the pharmacy, you will be able to pick up the mistake by comparing the prescription copy to the container label.
If a written prescription is given to you at the doctor's office, make sure you can interpret the handwriting prior to leaving the office. Confirm the name of the insulin, the dosage, and how often you should take it. Document this for your records, prior to dropping off the prescription at the pharmacy.