Insulin Safety Center

Getting Your Prescription

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 administers 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 following sections will give examples of how mix-ups can happen in the prescribing or dispensing phase of your treatment and ways you can best ensure that corrections are made.

Getting Your Prescription From Your Doctor

The discussion regarding the type of insulin you will take and how often you will need it, starts with a conversation between you and your healthcare provider and diabetes educator. They will provide you with a lot of information, so it's important to pay attention and read any written materials they give you.

Once a medical professional has prescribed insulin, they 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. Confirm the name of the insulin, the dosage, and how often you should take it.