HealthSheets™


Types of Insulin

Insulin is a type of hormone. It helps the body use blood sugar (glucose) for fuel. With diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin. You may need insulin injections to help manage this condition. In addition, your cells may have trouble using insulin if you have type 2 diabetes. There are many types of insulin that can be prescribed for your treatment. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the types that are best for you. Most insulin is made in a lab. It’s called human insulin because it’s just like the insulin that’s made in the body. Some types of insulin work fast. Other types work slowly and last longer.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the different types of insulin work in the following ways:

1. Rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 10 to 20 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks about 30 to 90 minutes after taken.

  • Continues working for 3 to 5 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                          

2. Short-acting or regular insulin:

  • Begins working about 30 to 60 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks within 2 to 4 hours after taken.

  • Continues working for 5 to 8 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

3. Intermediate-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 1 to 3 hours after taken.

  • Peaks within 8 hours after taken.

  • Continues working for 12 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

4. Long-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 1 hour after taken.

  • No peak.

  • Continuous even action for about 20 to 26 hours

Name of insulin:                                                                       

5. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and short-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 30 to 60 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Continues working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                      

6. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 5 to 15 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Continues working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin: _____________________________

7. Inhaled insulin:

  • Begins working about 12 to 15 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is about 30 minutes after being inhaled.

  • Continues working for 180 minutes.

Name of insulin: _____________________________

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