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Types of Insulin

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Insulin can be classified by how fast it starts to work and how long its effects last. Each type of insulin has an onset, peak, and duration time. Onset is the length of time it takes for the insulin to begin working. The peak is when the insulin is most effective at lowering blood sugar. Duration refers to how long the insulin continues to lower blood sugar. Onset, peak, and duration vary significantly across insulins. The "fastest" can start working in as little as 10 minutes and peak in 30. The longest lasting, sometimes called "basal" insulins, have an undetectable peak and work for 24 hours.

How the fastest insulin works.

SOURCE: Image from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.(Accessed November 4, 2010).

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