Insulin therapy is the first line of treatment for people with diabetes. Be it type 1 diabetes (insulin deficiency) or type 2 diabetes (body does not respond to insulin), taking insulin shots is necessary to control high blood sugar levels. However, there are different types of insulin, each one formulated to regulate blood sugar levels in a unique way. Individual factors, such as the amount of time taken for insulin to get absorbed, and lifestyle choices that include diet and amount of exercise done everyday, are considered before prescribing a specific type of insulin.
Did You Know?According to the American Diabetes Association, every 17 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes.
Following are the main factors used to classify insulin given to diabetic patients.
Onset: It is the amount of time insulin takes to begin lowering blood sugar. Simply put, onset time indicates how fast the action of insulin begins to take effect after administration.
Peak: It refers to the length of time insulin is most effective in reducing blood sugar. In simple words, it indicates how long insulin works at its maximum effectiveness.
Duration: The length of time insulin is found to be effective in lowering blood sugar. It is the time during which insulin works to reduce blood sugar.
Depending upon these factors, following are the types of insulin recommended for the treatment of diabetes.
|NovoLog or aspart||15-30 min.||30-90 min.||3-5 hours|
|Apidra or glulisine||10-20 min.||40-50 min.||3-5 hours|
|Humalog or lispro||20-30 min.||30-90 min.||1-2½ hours|
|Humulin R or Novolin R (regular)||30-60 min.||2-5 hours||5-8 hours|
|Lantus or glargine||1-1½ hours||Peakless||20-24 hours|
|Levemir or detemir||1-2 hours||No peak time||Up to 24 hours|
|Humulin N, Novolin N or NPH (N)||1-2 hours||4-12 hours||18-24 hours|
|Humulin 70/30||30 min.||2-4 hours||14-24 hours|
|Novolin 70/30||30 min.||2-12 hours||Up to 24 hours|
|Novolog 70/30||10-20 min.||1-4 hours||Up to 24 hours|
|Humulin 50/50||30 min.||2-5 hours||18-24 hours|
|Humalog Mix 75/25||15 min.||30 min.- 2½ hours||16-20 hours|
Insulin formulations that are dissolved in liquids, come in different concentrations. The standard insulin concentration in the United States is U-100, which indicates that there are 100 units of insulin in every milliliter of fluid. Higher strength insulin, such as U-500, are also available and prescribed in people with severe insulin resistance. In some countries, U-40 strength insulin are also available. Syringe size will vary depending on the insulin strength that is prescribed for treatment. So, patients have to ensure that the syringe size matches with the concentration of insulin recommended.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.