Terms owners of diabetic dogs and diabetic cats need to know: (a work in progress, we will be adding many more terms as time allows)
detemir: Levemir®, a trademark name of an insulin analog with long duration.
diabetic ketoacidosis: an emergency condition resulting from metabolic catastrophe as untreated diabetes causes fats to be metabolized for energy (see ketones, below), ketones build up in body tissues and fluids and the pH of body fluids plummets.
glargine: Lantus®, a long-acting r-DNA insulin.
Humulin N: trademarked name of recombinant DNA (man-made) from Eli Lilly and Co. Humulin N is an NPH insulin. The additives give it a longer action than “regular” insulin.
Humulin R: trademarked name of recombinant DNA (man-made) from Eli Lilly and Co. Humulin R is a “regular” or short-acting insulin.
insulin analog: a term used to describe any insulin molecule which has been modified through genetic engineering to create an insulin that is different from naturally-occurring insulin with the intended goal of longer duration and better, more even control of blood glucose.
isophane: “iso” is a prefix derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Therefore, “isophane insulin” is a mixture of equal parts insulin and protamine, resulting in an intermediate-action insulin.
ketones: a by-product of the diabetic body’s utilization of fats for energy resulting from the absence of insulin for glucose (sugar) utilization,
ketosis: the condition of having ketones in the bloodstream.
Lantus®: trademark name of Sanofi-Aventis insulin glargine.
lente: a trademarked term belonging to Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, but one which is common parlance for an intermediate-acting insulin. See also NPH.
Levemir®: see detemir, above.
NPH: an intermediate-acting insulin, “neutral protamine Hagedorn,” after its inventor, Hans Christian Hagedorn. Also called “lente.”
protamine: a protein found in the nucleus of cells, specifically cells associated with sperm production. Protamines used in insulin are specifically from the semen of salmon. The addition of protamine slows down the onset of action and extends the duration of action of insulin.
PZI: protamine zinc insulin, an intermediate-duration insulin.
regular insulin: insulin that has a fast onset of action with a short duration. Most often used when a patient is in diabetic ketoacidosis and a quick reduction of blood sugar is required.
r-DNA: recombinant DNA. Describes the technique utilizing non-pathogenic (not disease-producing) Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria genetically modified to produce human insulin.
semilente: a rapid-acting insulin. Also called “regular” insulin.
ultralente: also called “PZI” for “protamine zinc insulin.” Ultralente insulin has a slow onset and long duration of action compared to NPH because it has more protamine incorporated into the formula.
zinc: element 30 on the periodic table. Zinc (Zn) occurs naturally in association with insulin produced by the mammalian pancreas, but researchers long ago found that increasing its concentration in insulin crystals caused delaying of the onset and increase in the duration of insulin.