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*Types Of Insulin*

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Insulin Action Reference Chart

There are many types of insulin, and they are not all created equal. Each kind has its own unique action, and they are not interchangeable. Which insulin is right for you? The chart below will help you understand how the various insulin medications work and why your doctor has prescribed them for you.

Insulin is injected into the fat tissue which helps it absorb into the blood stream. Some insulin medications work faster than others but don't last as long, and some insulins last longer but work more gradually than others.

There are three characteristics that define types of insulin.

Onset: How long it takes for the insulin to start lowering blood glucose.
Peak Time: Time after injection when the insulin is the most effective at lowering blood glucose.
Duration: How long the insulin keeps lowering blood glucose
Insulin is prescribed by matching the characteristics of a particular insulin with the individual needs of the patient. Some people are on only one kind of insulin, while others take a combination of insulin medication to customize good glucose control.

There are four main types of insulin available.

-Rapid acting
-Intermediate acting
-Long acting
-There are also pre-mixed insulins. These combine intermediate acting insulins with regular insulin and are convenient for people
who need to use both.


Brand Name Generic Name Onset Peak Duration


Apidra Insulin Glulisine <15 minutes 1-2 hours 3-4 hours
Humalog Insulin Lispro <15 minutes 1-2 hours 3-4 hours
Novolog Insulin Aspart <15 minutes 1-2 hours 3-4 hours


Humulin R Regular 1/2 - 1 hour 2-3 hours 3-6 hours
Novolin R Regular 1/2 - 1 hour 2-3 hours 3-6 hours


Humulin N NPH 2-4 hours 4-10 hours 10-16 hours
Novolin N NPH 2-4 hours 4-10 hours 10-16 hours


Levemir Insulin Detemir 3/4 - 2 hours minimal peak action up to 24 hours
Lantus Insulin Glargine 2-4 hours no peak 20-24 hours

Lantus and Levemir were originally meant to work in 1 injection for 22-24 hours. However through the experience of the Patients Drs. now know that this is not always the case. With many Diabetics, 2 doses of these Long Acting Insulins are needed and usually given 12 hours apart, in order to cover the 24 hour period.

(I am on Lantus 2 injections a day).

Just a note:

The original animal-derived Insulins have been used to treat
Diabetics since Insulin was discovered in 1921 and since the
1970's have been highly purified.

Some People react badly to the new Insulins so their only
choice of treatment is the animal(beef and pork)insulins.
They have been discontinued in most countries but are still
available in the UK and some poorer countries.
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