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Re: [IP] Strength and Volume

On Sun, 04 Aug 2002 10:14:46 -0700 Sue Kinzelman <email @ redacted> raised
several questions:
>I'd like to learn more about this because I'd like to write a paper on it at
>some point.
>I understand that volume and strength are two different physical quantities.
>What I was trying to get at is that it sounds like the volume of dilutant  vs.
>insulin is what determines the strength.  So therefore there exists somewhere a
>"pure" insulin (before it is mixed with a dilutant)

Your reasoning makes sense to me, but I have never heard or read anything
that told me the strength of pure insulin (i.e., U-xxxx). I do know that the
exact definition of the insulin unit was one of the first things that was
done by Banting and Best after they determined that they had indeed
discovered something new.

>Are the syringes for different strengths marked off differently? I think I
>remember learning about different colored caps way back when I was diagnosed.
>So the orange cap syringe must be used with the orange cap insulin . Except
>humalog breaks the rule and its cap is cherry red even though it's used with an
>orange capped syringe. Hmm this could get complicated.

I don't have any plastic syringes for U-80 or U-40, so I'm not sure. They
were only made for a few years (if they were made at all-after glass and
before U-100). I do have six different glass syringes. One is U-40, with a
red scale, and marked "USE U-40 ONLY". Two have both U-40 and U-80 scales,
both red. One is U-100, with a brown (dark red?) scale, and marked "FOR USE
WITH U-100 IBSULIN ONLY". Two are U-80 2 cc with green scales, and marked
"USE U-80 ONLY". As far as Humalog breaking the rule, I suspect that was
because Humalog is an insulin analog rather than true insulin. What color is

>So therefore it is the size of a "unit" that varies with strength. So if you
>know the strength of the insulin concentration,  you could improvise like in
>ana emergency in another country?

Rather than talk about "size of a unit" I'd prefer to talk about "volume of
a unit" (I'm an engineer, and "volume" has a specific technical meaning
while "size" does not). The volume of one unit varies according to the
strength. If you had some dilutant you could improvise to get a lower
concentration, but I don't think it's practical to do anything to get a
higher concentration. At least that's why I had to use 2 cc U-80 syringes.
There were no U-100 syringes at that time.

Tom Beatson
dx 1942, 506 1995, 508 2000
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