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Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes

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Diabetes health tip

Diabetes: Sorting fact from fiction
Diabetes is a serious illness. To help contain this leading cause of disability and death, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.


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Taking insulin: Time-action of different insulins

 

Insulins Starts working Peaks Stops working

Rapid-acting

  • Humalog® (Lispro)
  • NovoLog® (Aspart)
  • Apidra® (Glulisine)


  • 5 to 15 minutes


  • 1 to 2 hours


  • 3 to 4 hours

Short-acting

  • Regular (R)


  • 30 to 45 minutes


  • 3 hours


  • 4 to 8 hours

Intermediate-acting

  • NPH (N)


  • 2 to 4 hours


  • 4 to 8 hours


  • 10 to 16 hours

Pre-mix*



  • 5 to 15 minutes








  • 30 to 45 minutes


  • 1 to 2 hours/some increase at 4 to 8 hours






  • 2 to 3 hours/4 to 8 hours


  • 10 to 16 hours








  • 10 to 16 hours

Basal**



  • 2 hours


  • no peak


  • 24 hours

*The long-acting insulin may work the best between 4 and 8 hours.

**Lantus and Levemir cannot be mixed with any other insulin.


Important information

  • Give Humalog, Novolog and Apidra less than 15 minutes before a meal.
  • Give Regular 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Do not mix Lantus or Levemir with other insulin.

Other injectables

 

Insulins Starts working Peaks Stops working

Exenatide Injection:

*Byetta®glargine

    Actions:

  • regulates the amount of insulin released after eating
  • decreased the release of glucose by the liver
  • reduces appetite (can increase weight loss)
  • slows the rate of food that is absorbed







  • within 60 minutes







  • 2 hours







  • 6 to 10 hours

Premlintide acetate injection:

**Symlin®pramlintide

    Actions:

  • regulates glucose levels after eating
  • decreases the release of glucose by the liver
  • reduces appetite (can increase weight loss)
  • slows the rate of food that is absorbed







  • 15 minutes







  • 48 minutes







  • 3 hours

*Used the sulfonylureas, metformin or TZD.

**Used with insulin.

Pen devices

Most insulins are available in a pre-filled pen you throw away after use. See the product insert for specific use guidelines.


 

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, fifth edition, ISBN 1-931876-32-0

First published: 12/01/2006
Last updated: 02/05/2013

Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts