Important Insulin Information

Important Insulin Information

For more information, visit our Insulin section.

Insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas and used by the body so that glucose can enter the cells for energy. With Type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are no longer active so insulin injections replace the body's insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the body is usually producing insulin but insulin resistance means that the insulin produced is not enough to keep the blood sugar normal. Often a change in diet, an increase in exercise and oral medications are used first. When that is no longer effective, a person with Type 2 often requires injected insulin.

Insulin types and action times
Insulin Starts Peaks Ends Low most likely at:
Hum/Nov 10-20 m 1.5-2.5 h 4-5 h 2-5 h
Regular 30-45 m 2-4 h 5-7 h 3-7 h
NPH 1-3 h 4-9 h 14-20 h 4-16 h
Lente 2-4 h 8-14 h 16-24 h 6-16 h
UL 2-4 h 8-14 h 18-24 h 8-18 h
Lantus* 1-2 h 6 hr 18-26 h 5-10 h
Levemir* 1-3 h 8-10 18-24 h 8-16 h
* Lantus and Levemir have little peak, so lows are less likely unless dose is excessive.

Insulin storage tips:

  • Insulin will keep for 1 month at room temperature if kept cooler than 86 degrees and out of direct sunlight or heat.
  • Unopened bottles of insulin should be stored in a refrigerator; but do not freeze insulin.
  • Syringes may be pre-filled and stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Be sure to roll the syringes before use to mix the insulin.

Insulin injections

Absorption of insulin is most consistent and quickest through the abdomen followed by the arms and legs. Insulin injections should be at a 90-degree angle subcutaneously (just under the skin). Pinching the skin, using a 45-degree injection angle, and\or a shorter needle may be necessary in children and lean adults.

Newly Diagnosed Sections:

Risk/Diagnosis | Types of Diabetes | Diabetes Care | Blood Sugar Testing | Diet & Nurition Plans | Insulins
Your Diabetes Healthcare Team | Staying Motivated