Insulin therapy is a critical part of treatment for people with type 1 diabetes and also for many with type 2 diabetes. The goal of insulin therapy is to keep your blood sugar levels within a target range.
Insulin is usually injected in the fat under your skin using a syringe, insulin pen or insulin pump tubing. Which insulin is best for you depends on a number of factors. These factors include the type of diabetes you have, how much your blood sugar changes throughout the day and your lifestyle.
Many types of insulin are available and they vary by:
- How long they take to begin working (onset)
- When they reach their maximum effect (peak)
- How long they last
Your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night. Sometimes, premixed insulin may be an option. Premixed insulin combines specific proportions of intermediate-acting and short- or rapid-acting insulin in one bottle or insulin pen.
This chart shows how individual insulins compare:
|Insulin type and name
||How long it lasts (approx.)
Insulin aspart (NovoLog, Fiasp)
Insulin glulisine (Apidra)
Insulin lispro (Humalog, Admelog)
Insulin human (Afrezza inhalation powder)
Insulin regular (Humulin R, Novolin R)
Insulin NPH (Humulin N, Novolin N, Novolin ReliOn Insulin N)
Insulin glargine (Lantus, Basaglar)
Insulin detemir (Levemir)
||No pronounced peak
Insulin degludec (Tresiba)
Insulin glargine (Toujeo)
||No pronounced peak
July 27, 2019
- Insulin basics. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-basics.html. Accessed June 3, 2019.
- Garber AJ, et al. Consensus statement by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology on the comprehensive type 2 diabetes management algorithm — 2018 executive summary. Endocrine Practice. 2018;24:91.
- McCulloch DK. General principles of insulin therapy in diabetes mellitus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 7, 2019.
- AskMayoExpert. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research;2018.
- Afrezza (prescribing information). Danbury, Conn.: MannKind Corporation; 2018. https://www.afrezza.com/pdf/Afrezza-10-2018-PI.pdf. Accessed June 3, 2019.
- Novolin N (prescribing information). Bagsvaerd, Denmark: Novo Nordisk; 2018. https://www.novo-pi.com/novolinn.pdf. Accessed June 3, 2019.
- Basaglar (prescribing information). Indianapolis, Ind.: Eli Lilly and Company; 2018. http://uspl.lilly.com/basaglar/basaglar.html#pi. Accessed June 3, 2019.
- Tresiba (prescribing information). Bagsvaerd, Denmark: Novo Nordisk; 2018. https://www.novo-pi.com/tresiba.pdf. Accessed June 3, 2019.
- Toujeo (prescribing information). Bridgewater, N.J.: Sanofi Aventis U.S. LLC; 2018. http://products.sanofi.us/toujeo/toujeo.pdf. Accessed June 3, 2019.