5 Types of Insulin and How They Work

If you have to take insulin to treat diabetes, there’s good news: You have choices. There are five types of insulin. They vary by onset (how soon they start to work), peak (how long they take to kick into full effect) and duration (how long they stay in your body).
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Long-acting insulin

What it’s called: Lantus (glargine), Levemir (detemir)

Long-acting insulin has an onset of one hour, and lasts for 20 to 26 hours with no peak.

This insulin type tends to cover your insulin needs for a full day. It is often taken at bedtime.

“These long-acting insulin provide 24-hour coverage, and have been helpful at achieving good blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes with just one shot,” Dr. Chandalia says.

Next: Pre-mixed insulin

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