Diabetes in Pets

Novo Nordisk A/S is a Danish company that makes and sells insulin and diabetic products worldwide, since 1922. (Insulin was discovered in Toronto in 1921, and Novo became the first commercial manufacturer. See link below for the history of insulin[1].)

In 1946, a Novo Nordisk scientist named Hagedorn discovered a new way to extend the activity time of R/neutral insulin--by suspending the crystals in protamine. One of the names for this suspension honors him today--NPH is an abbreviation for Neutral Protamine Hagedorn.

Novo Nordisk was at the forefront once more in 1953 when it discovered a way to suspend insulin crystals with zinc. This solved the problem for many with allergies/sensitivities to NPH's protamine-based suspension. The result was an insulin which lasted as long as NPH but less allergenic. Novo patented the zinc process as Lente, using the Italian word for "slow" as its name. The Lente family of insulins are Semilente, Lente, and Ultralente.

Wal-Mart and Sam's Club sell pharmaceuticals under their "house brand" name ofReliOn. Novo Nordisk[2] produces 3 types of R-DNA/GE/GM insulin: R, NPH, and 70/30 Mix for them under the ReliOn/Novolin brand name. This insulin is the same quality as that which only carries the Novolin trademark.

Until 2001, the company produced some mixed beef/pork insulin products. Their Lentard MC, was a Lente insulin made of a blend of Bovine and Porcine insulins. They currently produce no bovine insulins and porcine ones only in selected markets. The Lentard MC insulin was 70% beef and 30% pork. The nearest matching insulin still marketed[3] would be Hypurin Bovine Isophane.

In many of them, Novo elected to use the same trade names it had for its animal insulins for its line of r-DNA/GE/GM insulins. Distinguishing between the two is made by the letters MC or HM. MC means the insulin is of animal (now only porcine) origin; HM means it is produced through biotech.

Novo Nordisk[4] has made an announcement regarding the discontinuation of its pork insulins in the UK. They are: Pork Actrapid (fast-acting R/neutral pork insulin), Pork Mixtard 30 (30% R/neutral and 70% isophane/NPH), and Pork Insulatard (pork isophane/NPH insulin. The products will no longer be available in the UK after December 2007. Prescribing information[5] for Novo's Animal Insulins. Note that the Lente formula Lentard MC, which is roughly 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork has been off the market for a while.


Some of its products include:

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