Medication Insulin

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Overview of Insulin Medication

While insulin is usually a naturally occurring protein in the human body, its deficiency in those who suffer from diabetes can necessitate the use of insulin injections as well as other forms of insulin medication. Natural insulin reactions can occur for a number of reasons, and there are therefore a few different ways in which insulin medication can be handled. In general, there are five different types of insulin medication. These are short-acting medications, long-acting medications, rapid-acting medications, intermediate-acting medications, and pre-mixed medications,

Short-Acting Insulin Medication

These medications normally take half an hour to an hour to kick in. Within a few hours they reach the height of their effectiveness, but they can last for as much as a third of a day. This means that in patients who only need insulin shots to regulate meals, three injections per day could theoretically do the trick. The key thing to remember when creating a treatment plan which largely revolves around short-acting insulin medications is that meals must be planned ahead of time so that injections can be given adequate time to set in.

Long-Acting Insulin Medication

These medications are not often used on their own, but often in conjunction with short-acting injections. Their primary purpose is to keep insulin levels at a relatively stabilized pace throughout the day. It can take these injections between one and two hours to set in; however, once they have been administered they will generally last for a full twenty-four hours. Patients who utilize long-acting insulin medications normally only need one shot (maximum of two shots) per day.

Rapid-Acting Insulin Medication

These medications do not last as long as short-acting medications, but are used for much the same purpose. The benefit of rapid-acting medications as opposed to short-acting medications is that they do not take as much time to kick in. With between fifteen and thirty minutes required before they activate, diabetics can take these medications fairly close to the time they eat with little risk. While some brands last for up to five hours, others last for less than three. This means that they can easily be taken in combination with long-lasting injections without fear of complications due to unnecessarily high insulin levels.

Intermediate-Acting Insulin Medication

These medications are similar to those which last longer in that only one or two shots a day are needed to help regulate insulin levels at a steady pace. They are not generally used as their own treatment plan, but rather combined with injections that work rapidly or over a short amount of time before meals. One of the benefits to intermediate-acting medications is that they can be used overnight. This helps to provide steady insulin levels during the dawn phenomenon, a period of time during late night or early morning during which blood sugar spikes while the patient is sleeping.

Pre-Mixed Insulin Medication

Like short-acting and rapid-acting medications, these are often taken prior to meals; however, they are not exclusive to this purpose. As the name implies, these medications are comprised of mixed levels of various types of insulin medication. This means that they can help in the formation of a treatment plan which caters to the individual patient’s diabetic needs.


There is no singular “right” way of forming a plan for insulin treatment. Every diabetic is capable of sustaining a slightly different body chemistry. This means that patients will likely not be able to assess the benefits of various treatment plans on their own. They are therefore advised to engage in thorough discussion with their attending physician or diabetes specialist to decide which form of insulin medication will best suit their needs.