Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Absorption of isophane (NPH) insulin and its clinical implications.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 17 July 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:159
  1. T Lauritzen,
  2. S Pramming,
  3. E A Gale,
  4. T Deckert,
  5. C Binder


    Absorption of 125I-NPH insulin (125I-isophane insulin) (40 IU/ml) was studied in eight diabetics given 50% and 150% of their normal daily dose of insulin. Insulin absorption correlated with plasma insulin (r = 0.97, p less than 0.001) and blood glucose (r = -0.87, p less than 0.01) concentrations. Absorption was slower at higher doses, so that trebling the insulin dose only doubled the amount absorbed over the first 24 hours. The plasma elimination half time (t12) of insulin was about five minutes. Thus, the disappearance of radiolabelled insulin is a reliable and quantitative index of insulin absorption; subcutaneous degradation, if present, is minimal and constant. Changes in dise of intermediate-acting insulin further increases the large variation in insulin absorption. This implies that minor adjustments of intermediate insulin dosage are probably futile.