Injectable Insulin Medications

  • Medication name: Insulin glulisine (Apidra®)
    • Onset*: 5-15 minutes
    • Peak*: 1-3 hours
    • Duration*: 3-5 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin aspart (Novolog®)
    • Onset: 10-15 minutes
    • Peak: 1-3 hours
    • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin lispro U-100/U-200 (Humalog®)
    • Onset: 10-15 minutes
    • Peak: 1-3 hours
    • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Medication name: Regular insulin (Novolin R, Humulin R)
    • Onset: 30-60 minutes
    • Peak: 2-4 hours
    • Duration: 5-8 hours
  • Medication name: NPH insulin (Novolin N, Humulin N)
    • Onset: 1-2 hours
    • Peak: 4-12 hours
    • Duration: 14-24 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin detemir (Levemir®)
    • Onset: 1 hour
    • Peak: 3-14 hours
    • Duration: Up to 24 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin U-100 (Lantus®, Basaglar®)
    • Onset: 3-4 hours
    • Peak: No peak
    • Duration: Up to 24 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin glargine U-300 (Toujeo®)
    • Onset: 6 hours
    • Peak: No peak
    • Duration: Up to 36 hours
  • Medication name: Insulin degludec U-100/U-200 (Tresiba®)
    • Onset: 1 hour
    • Peak: No peak
    • Duration: Up to 42 hours
  • Medication name: Pre-mixed insulin
    • 70/30 (70% N and 30% R)
      • Onset: 0.5-1 hour
      • Peak: 2-12 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours
    • 50/50 (50% N and 50% R)
      • Onset: 0.5-1 hour
      • Peak: 2-12 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours
  • Medication name: Pre-mixed insulin
    • Humalog® mix 75/25 (75% NPL and 25% insulin lispro)
      • Onset: 5-20 minutes
      • Peak: 1-2 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours
    • Humalog® mix 50/50 (50% insulin lispro protamine and 50% insulin lispro)
      • Onset: 5-20 minutes
      • Peak: 1-2 hours
      • Duration: 10-16 hours
    • NovoLog® mix 70/30 (70% insulin aspart protamine and 30% insulin aspart)
      • Onset: 5-20 minutes
      • Peak: 1-2 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:

  • Insulin helps control blood sugar levels in people whose bodies do not produce enough insulin.
  • Insulin directly lowers glucose levels by increasing uptake into muscle and fatty tissue, and reducing release of glucose from the liver.
  • Insulin can be injected in the abdomen, legs, back of arms, or buttocks.

Side effects:

Comments/special instructions:

  • Insulin may lead to weight gain.
  • Humalog®, Novolog®, and Apidra® may be taken up to 15 minutes before eating and, if using vials, may be mixed with NPH.
  • Regular insulin is taken 30 minutes before eating and also may be mixed with NPH.

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.