Each insulin has its own unique therapeutic effect. The onset of action of a particular insulin is how long it takes the hormone to start working at lowering blood glucose levels. The insulin peak is the point at which the dose is at the height of its therapeutic effectiveness, and the duration is how long the blood glucose lowering effect of a given insulin lasts from injection to end. Following is a list of insulin types available in the United States, along with their onset, peak, and duration. Talk to your healthcare provider about your insulin regimen.
|Insulin preparation||Onset of action||Peak||Duration of action|
|Lispro (Humalog)||<15 minutes||1-2 hours||3-6 hours|
|Aspart (Novolog)||<15 minutes||1-2 hours||3-6 hours|
|Glulisine (Apidra)||<15 minutes||1-2 hours||3-6 hours|
|Regular (Novolin R, Humulin R)||30-60 minutes||2-4 hours||6-10 hours|
|Humulin R Regular U-500||30-60 minutes||2-4 hours||Up to 24 hours|
|NPH (Novolin N, Humulin N, ReliOn)||2-4 hours||4-8 hours||10-18 hours|
|Glargine (Lantus)||1-2 hours||Usually no peak||Up to 24 hours|
|Detemir (Levemir)||1-2 hours||Usually no peak **||Up to 24 hours**|
|Glargine Injection (Toujeo)||6 hours||No true peak||24-36 hours|
|Afrezza||15-20 minutes||Approx. 50 minutes||2-3 hours|
|Premixed Insulins***||Onset of action||Peak||Duration of action|
| Novolin 70/30, |
|30-60 minutes||2-10 hours||10-18 hours|
| Humalog 75/25, |
|10-30 minutes||1-6 hours||10-14 hours|
Afrezza, a rapid-acting, inhalable form of insulin is now available as well. For more information on Afrezza, click here.
*Information derived from a combination of manufacturer's prescribing information and clinical studies. Individual response to insulin preparations may vary.
**Peak and length of action may depend on size of dose and length of time since initiation of therapy
***Premixed insulins are more variable in peak and duration of action. For instance, even though the literature states that the effects may last for up to 24 hours many people find that they will need to take a dose every 10-12 hours.
Reviewed by James A. Bennett 1/12
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