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Diseases & Conditions

Injectable & Inhaled Insulin Medications

Medication name Onset Peak Duration

Insulin glulisine (Apidra®)

Insulin aspart (Novolog®)

Insulin lispro (Humalog®)

10-20 minutes

1-3 hours

3-5 hours

Regular insulin

30-60 minutes

2-4 hours

5-8 hours

NPH insulin

50 minutes

5-7 hours

13-18 hours

Insulin detemir (Levemir®)

60-90 minutes

3-14 hours

6-23 hours

Insulin glargine (Lantus®)

90 minutes

No peak

Up to 24 hours

Pre-mixed insulin

70/30 (70% N and

30% R)

½ hour

2-12 hours

18-24 hours

Pre-mixed insulin

50/50 (50% N and

50% R)

½ hour

2-12 hours

18-24 hours

Pre-mixed insulin Humalog® mix 75/25 (75% NPL and 25% insulin lispro)

Humalog® mix 50/50 (50% insulin lispro

protamine

suspension and 50% insulin lispro

injection)

NovoLog® mix 70/30 (70% insulin as part

protamine suspension and 30% insulin as part injection)

10-15 minutes

10-20 minutes

1-12 hours

1-12 hours

18 hours

18 hours

How it works:

  • Injection in abdomen, legs, arms—insulin directly lowers glucose levels by increasing uptake into muscle and fatty tissue, and reducing release of glucose from the liver.

Side effects:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Local allergic reaction (rare)

Comments/special instructions:

  • Insulin may lead to weight gain.
  • Humalog®, Novolog®, and Apidra® may be taken 15 minutes before eating and may be mixed with NPH.
  • Regular insulin is taken 30 minutes before eating and may be mixed with NPH.
  • NPH is taken twice a day before meals or in the morning and at bedtime.

Insulins made by different manufacturers should not be mixed, e.g., Humulin-R® (Eli Lilly) should not be mixed with Novolin-N® (Novo-Nordisk). Manufacturers use different processes to produce their insulins, and different preservatives. Their interactions have not been studied.

Insulin helps control blood sugar levels in people whose bodies do not produce enough insulin.

© 1995-2009 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic 216.444.3771 or toll-free 800.223.2273 extension 4-3771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health. This document was last reviewed on: 10/17/2007...#13902