Types of Insulin

Type of insulin How soon it starts working? How long it lasts?
Short acting (regular) 30 minutes 6-8 hours
Short acting (analogue) 10 to 20 minutes 3 to 5 hours
Intermediate acting (NPH) 1 to 2 hours 12 to 18 hours
Long acting (analogue) 50 to 120 minutes Upto 24 hours
Premixed insulin (regular) 30 minutes 24 hours
Premixed insulin (analogue) 10 to 20 minutes 24 hours
Ultra Long Acting (analogue) 0.5 to 1.5 hours 42 hours

Premixed insulin can be helpful in following cases:

  • For people who have trouble drawing up insulin out of two vials and reading the correct directions and dosages.
  • For people whose diabetes has been stabilized on this combination. Your doctor will decide what type of insulin is best for you. Because each one of us is different,it may take a while to find your correct  type and dose of insulin. This depends on your work schedule,meal timings,and exercise habits.

S Joshi et al. A review of insulin and insulin regimens in type 2 diabetes. SA Fam Pract 2009 97 Vol 51 No 2.

DeWitt DE, Hirsch IB. Outpatient insulin therapy in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus: scientific review. JAMA 2003;289:2254–2264

Human Insulatard pack insert.

Heise T, Nosek L, Bøttcher SG, et al. Ultra-long-acting insulin degludec has a flat and stable glucose-lowering effect in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Obes Metab 2012a;14:944-50.

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1. Estimated from IDF 7th Atlas 2015
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