Insulin Types 

Updated: Aug 19, 2015
  • Author: Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, PhD; more...
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Types of Insulin

Insulin types are discussed in the table below. [1]

  Table 1. Insulin Types (Open Table in a new window)

Insulin Type Onset Peak Duration
Ultra short acting: insulin lispro, insulin aspart, insulin glulisine



Usually taken before a meal to cover the blood glucose elevation from eating  Used with longer-acting insulin



12-30 min 0.5-3 hr 3-5 hr
Short acting: regular insulin



Usually taken about 30 minutes before a meal to cover blood glucose elevation from eating  



Used with longer-acting insulin



30 min 2.5-5 hr 4-24 hr
Intermediate acting: insulin NPH



Covers the blood glucose elevations when rapid-acting insulins stop working



Often combined with rapid- or short-acting insulin and usually taken twice a day



1-2 hr 4-12 hr 14-24 hr
Long acting: insulin glargine, ultralente insulin, insulin detemir



Often combined, when needed, with rapid- or short-acting insulin



Lowers blood glucose levels when rapid-acting insulins stop working



Taken once or twice a day



3-4 hr No defined peak ≥24 hr