Diabetes Home > Types of Insulin

Many people have to take more than one type of insulin. For example, some people may need to take a long- or intermediate-acting insulin to provide a basal insulin level throughout the day, along with a short- or rapid-acting insulin to help control blood sugar levels after meals. Although most insulins are administered by injection, research is underway to find new ways to take insulin (such as a skin patch or nasal spray).

An Introduction to Insulin Types

Although people sometimes think of insulin as being a single medication, there are actually many different types of insulin. Different types of insulin are used in different ways and for different situations. Many people need to take more than one type of insulin.
 

Basic Types of Insulin

Currently, there are four basic types of insulin:
 
  • Rapid-acting:

 

 

  • Short-acting: regular insulin (Humulin® R, Novolin R®)
     
  • Intermediate-acting: NPH insulin (Humulin® N, Novolin® N)
     
  • Long-acting:

 

 

In addition, there are two different types of combination insulins, including:
 
  • Intermediate-acting plus rapid-acting:

 

 

  • Intermediate-acting plus short-acting: NPH insulin/regular insulin (Humulin® 70/30, Novolin® 70/30).
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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