When you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas still produces insulin. Over time, however, less and less of this hormone may be produced. This leads to the need to rely on insulin injections to control your blood glucose levels. Insulin injections may be added while continuing the use of diabetes pills.

Insulin, because it can improve blood glucose control, often will lead to a better quality of life and prevent or delay the complications and side effects of diabetes.

Insulin is divided into categories which are based on:

  • How fast they start to work
  • When they reach the peak of their action
  • How long they stay in your system
Types of Insulin Names of Insulin How Fast They Start When the Action Peaks How Long They Last

Rapid Acting

Humalog/Lispro

Novolog/Aspart

5 to 15 minutes

30 to 90 minutes

1 to 3 hours

3 to 5 hours

Short Acting

Regular

1/2 to 1 hour

2 to 4 hours

6 to 8 hours

Intermediate

70/30 NPH Lente

1/2 to 1 hour

1 to 2 hours

1 to 3 hours

2 to 10 hours

6 to 10 hours

6 to 10 hours

10 to 16 hours

Long Acting

Ultralente Lantus/Glargine

4 to 6 hours

1 to 2 hours

18 hours

No peak action

24 to 36 hours

There are also combination insulin mixtures that are premixed, such as:

  • 70/30 mix: 70% NPH (intermediate-acting) and 30% Regular (short-acting)
  • 50/50 mix: 50% NPH and 50% Regular

Each person responds differently to insulin. Your doctor will determine the best type of insulin and the best insulin schedule for you.

 

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Review Date: 5/1/2006

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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