Insulin A to Z

Insulin A to Z

Insulin A to Z

Insulin A to Z: A Guide on Different Types of Insulin
Elizabeth Blair, A.N.P., at Joslin Diabetes Center, helps break down the different types of insulin and how they work for people with diabetes.
Types of Insulin for People with Diabetes
Rapid-acting: Usually taken before a meal to cover the blood glucose elevation from eating. This type of insulin is used with longer-acting insulin.
Short-acting: Usually taken about 30 minutes before a meal to cover the blood glucose elevation from eating. This type of insulin is used with longer-acting insulin.
Intermediate-acting: Covers the blood glucose elevations when rapid-acting insulins stop working. This type of insulin is often combined with rapid- or short-acting insulin and is usually taken twice a day.
Long-acting: This type of insulin is often combined, when needed, with rapid- or short-acting insulin. It lowers blood glucose levels when rapid-acting insulins stop working. It is taken once or twice a day

Duration
(how long insulin
works for)
Peak
(time period when
insulin is most effective)
Onset
(length of time before
insulin reaches bloodstream)
Brand Name Type
3 - 5 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours 10 - 30 minutes Humalog
Novolog
Apidra
Rapid-acting
Up to 12 hours 2 - 5 hours 30 minutes - 1 hour Regular (R) Short-acting
Up to 24 hours 4 - 12 hours 1.5 - 4 hours NPH (N) Intermediate-
acting
Up to 24 hours Minimal peak 0.8 - 4 hours Lantus
Levemir
Long-acting
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