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