Veteran's Health Library Menu

Health Encyclopedia

Types of Insulin

Insulin is a type of hormone. It helps the body use blood sugar (glucose) for fuel. With diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin. Then you may need insulin injections. If you have type 2 diabetes, your cells may have trouble using insulin. There are many types of insulin that can be used for your treatment. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the types that are best for you. Most insulin is made in a lab. It’s called human insulin because it’s just like the insulin that’s made in the body. Some types of insulin work fast. Other types work slowly and last longer.

The different types of insulin work in the following ways:

1. Rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 15 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks about 1 hour after taken.

  • Keeps working for 2 to 4 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                          

2. Short-acting or regular insulin:

  • Begins working about 30 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks within 2 to 3 hours after taken.

  • Keeps working for 3 to 6 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

3. Intermediate-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 2 to 4 hours after taken.

  • Peaks 4 to 12 hours after taken.

  • Keeps working for 12 to 18 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

4. Long-acting insulin:

  • Begins working several hours after injection

  • No peak.

  • Continuous, even action for about 24 hours

Name of insulin:                                                                       

5. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and short-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 30 to 60 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Keeps working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                      

6. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 5 to 15 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Keeps working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin: _____________________________

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 12/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
Disclaimer - Opens 'Disclaimer' in Dialog Window | Help | About Veterans Health Library