How quickly they work
(onset of action)
(onset of action)
(time of peak action)
(duration of action)
It is important to be aware that there are different types of
insulin. Depending on your needs, your doctor will recommend that you
begin on one type of insulin. Your treatment may need to be adjusted
over time to achieve the best possible blood glucose control. It is
very important that you follow the advice of your healthcare
professional in relation to your prescribed medication.
Most people who move on to insulin treatment start with a long-acting
insulin. These are often called basal or 'background' insulins because
they keep a low, consistent level of insulin in your blood over an
Long-acting insulins work to keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the entire day – including between meals and when you sleep. Because of their long duration of action, they are usually taken only once or twice daily.
Your blood glucose rises rapidly when you eat a meal. Sometimes,
long-acting insulin isn't enough to control these 'spikes' and you may
need to add mealtime insulin to keep your blood glucose levels under
Mealtime insulin is a rapid- or fast-acting insulin that you inject just before you eat to manage blood glucose spikes. It is taken in addition to a long-acting insulin and together, they are sometimes called 'basal-bolus insulin'.
You may start with just one mealtime insulin injection per day, usually with your main meal. Your doctor will advise you to add more mealtime injections if necessary.
Regardless of the type of insulin you are prescribed, moving on to insulin treatment can seem overwhelming. This is a normal reaction. It is important to keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and switching to a treatment that gives you better control of your health is a success on its own terms.