Injectable Insulin Medications

  • Medication name: Insulin glulisine (Apidra®)
    • Onset*: 5-15 minutes
    • Peak*: 1-2 hours
    • Duration*: 4-6 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin aspart (Novolog®)
    • Onset: 10-15 minutes
    • Peak: 1-2 hours
    • Duration: 3-6 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin lispro (Humalog®)
    • Onset: 10-15 minutes
    • Peak: 1-2 hours
    • Duration: 3-6 hours
  • Medication name: Regular insulin
    • Onset: 30-60 minutes
    • Peak: 2-4 hours
    • Duration: 6-10 hours
  • Medication name: NPH insulin
    • Onset: 1-3 hours
    • Peak: 4-8 hours
    • Duration: 10-18 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin detemir (Levemir®)
    • Onset: 1 hour
    • Peak: Minimal
    • Duration: Up to 24 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin glargine (Lantus®)
    • Onset: 2-3 hours
    • Peak: Minimal
    • Duration: Up to 24 hours
  • Medication name: Pre-mixed insulin
    • 70/30 (70% N and 30% R)
      • Onset: 0.5-1 hour
      • Peak: 2-10 hours
      • Duration: 10-18 hours
    • 50/50 (50% N and 50% R)
      • Onset: 0.5-1 hour
      • Peak: 2-10 hours
      • Duration: 10-18 hours
  • Medication name: Pre-mixed insulin
    • Humalog® mix 75/25 (75% NPL and 25% insulin lispro)
      • Onset: 10-15 minutes
      • Peak: 1-3 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours
    • Humalog® mix 50/50 (50% insulin lispro protamine and 50% insulin lispro)
      • Onset: 10-15 minutes
      • Peak: 1-2 hours
      • Duration: 10-18 hours
    • NovoLog® mix 70/30 (70% insulin aspart protamine and 30% insulin aspart)
      • Onset: 10-20 minutes
      • Peak: 1-4 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours

* Onset how long it takes before the insulins begin to work; peak the time during which the insulins are at their maximum effectiveness in lowering blood glucose; duration is how long the insulins continue to work before their effects wear off

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:

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.