What Are the Five Types of Insulin?

Reviewed on 7/9/2020

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced in the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin helps the body convert glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood into energy. After eating and digesting food, glucose levels in the body rise, and insulin is released to help the body use or store the sugar from food. On the cellular level, insulin helps transport glucose into the body cells where it is turned into energy.

What Is Insulin Used For?

Insulin is used to treat diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin and they need insulin injections so the body can use the glucose from meals. 

People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their bodies do not respond properly to it. This is called “insulin resistance.” Some people with type 2 diabetes need insulin shots but usually they are treated with pills and diet control. 

What Are the 5 Types of Insulin?

There are 5 main types of insulin that act differently in the body.

  1. Rapid-acting insulin
  2. Regular or short-acting insulin 
    • Reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection
    • Peaks within 2 to 3 hours following injection
    • Lasts about 3 to 6 hours
    • Types: 
  3. Intermediate-acting insulin 
    • Starts working about 2 to 4 hours after injection
    • Peaks 4 to 12 hours after injection
    • Lasts about 12 to 18 hours
    • Types: 
  4. Long-acting insulin  
    • Starts working several hours after injection
    • Can work to lower glucose levels for up to 24 hours
    • Types:
  5. Ultra long-acting insulin
    • Starts working in about 6 hours
    • Does not peak
    • Lasts 36 hours or longer
    • Types: 
      • Glargine u-300 (Toujeo)

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 7/9/2020
Medscape Medical Reference