How it works: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that stimulates cells in the body to remove glucose from the blood for storage or usage. Normally, insulin is released when the body has high amounts of sugar in the blood, such as after a meal, to bring levels back into a normal range.
Who uses it: People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes.
In-Depth Article: Insulins Unplugged – an overview of the different varieties of insulin available today.
Basal vs. Prandial: Insulins can be divided into two categories based on function: basal (long-acting insulin) and prandial (rapid-acting or “mealtime” insulin). Basal insulin is designed to be injected once or twice daily to provide a constant level of insulin action throughout the day. Basal insulin helps keep blood sugars at a consistent level when you are not eating, but it is not enough to cover glucose spikes after mealtime. Prandial insulins, on the other hand, are taken at mealtime and act rapidly on the body, serving to bring down the high sugar levels following meals.
Analog vs. Human Insulin: There are also two types of insulin structures: human insulin and analog insulin. Human insulins were developed first and are essentially identical in structure to the insulin produced in the body. Analog insulins are similar in structure but have minor biological modifications to give them desirable properties. While analog insulins cost more, they generally lead to less hypoglycemia and weight gain. Prandial (mealtime) insulin analogs tend to act faster than human insulin.
Lantus and Toujeo (insulin glargine)
Basaglar (insulin glargine)
Levemir (insulin detemir)
Tresiba (insulin degludec)
Humalog (insulin lispro)
Novolog (insulin aspart)
Apidra (insulin glulisine)
Fiasp (Faster-acting insulin aspart)
Admelog (insulin lispro)
Last updated: February 28, 2018