For diabetics, aside from lifestyle modifications such as controlling the urge to eat sweet food items, foot care, and adherence to medicine for diabetes, taking of insulin is important. These chemically-prepared versions of the hormone supply the diabetic with enough insulin, as they either are unable to produce the necessary amount of it or their blood sugar has become too high, making the insulin in the body seem insufficient.
There are many kinds of biosynthetic human insulin. While all of them serve the same purpose, the indications for their use are different. If you are a diabetic or know someone who is, here is a guide to help you know which insulin to use on particular situations.
But before you read the list, familiarize yourself with the following terms first:
- Onset – the time when the insulin starts taking effect after it has been introduced to the body
- Peak – the time when the insulin is most effective
- Duration – indicates how long the insulin will have an effect and stay in the body
The four most common and most widely used types of insulin are the following:
If there is a need for insulin exactly during the time when the diabetic will have his or her meal, fast-acting insulin is usually the one used. Because of its short duration, it is usually paired with longer-acting insulin.
Brand names include Humalog or Lispro (onset: 15-30mins, peak: 30-90mins, duration: 3-5hrs), Novolog or Aspart (onset: 10-20mins, 40-50mins, 3-5hrs), and Apidra or Glulisine (onset: 20-30 mins, peak: 30-90mins, peak: 1-2½hrs).
For meals eaten within thirty minutes to an hour, short-acting insulin covers a diabetic’s insulin needs.
This type of insulin has two brands under its belt: the Regular (R) humulin or novolin (onset: 30mins-1hr, peak: 2-5hrs, duration: 5-8hrs) and Velosulin, which is injected via insulin pump, a device used to perform a controlled injection of insulin.
This type provides insulin for about half a day or overnight. Because of its effect, it is usually used before diabetics go to sleep. It is also usually used in tandem with rapid or short-acting insulin.
NPH (N) is the only known brand to fall under this type. It has an onset of 1-2 hours, a peak of 12 hours, and duration of 18-24 hours.
If insulin is needed for an entire day, long-acting insulin is usually the choice of doctors. When needed, it is used in combination with rapid or short-acting insulin.
For this type, there are two known brands: Lantus and Levemir. The former has a 1-1½-hour onset and a duration of 20-24 hours. It does not peak, as it is designed to deliver insulin at a steady level. On the other hand, Levemir has a 1-2-hour onset, a 6-8-hour peak, and a 24-hour duration.
With the information provided above, you should be able to have a good idea what insulin will you or your loved one will use. However, please be guided accordingly by consulting a doctor first. After all, it is through the modifying of one’s lifestyle, the taking of insulin, and the following of medical advice will diabetics be able to lead sweet and fulfilling lives.