In this article, we will not go into history and talk about pork and beef insulin or the evolution in the way insulin is produced. Let’s dwell only on the types of insulin for diabetes mellitus that we use now. There are many brands of insulin used to treat diabetes. They are classified by the speed of onset and duration of action.
Short-acting insulin (Insuman Rapid, Humulin Regular, Actrapid, Gensulin R, etc.)
They begin to act in 30 minutes. Therefore, the injection of insulin should be done 30 minutes before meals. The duration of action is up to 6-7 hours. Also, for certain indications, these insulin preparations are used for intravenous administration in a hospital setting (in this case, they act from the moment of administration).
Ultrashort-acting insulin analogs (insulin Lispro (Humalog), Novolog, Aspart (Novorapid), insulin Glulisine (Apidra))
They begin to act 15-20 minutes after subcutaneous injection. Therefore it is recommended to inject insulin 15 minutes before meals. The peak of insulin action after 2 hours, the duration of action up to 4 hours. These insulins are used for insulin pump therapy. These insulins have advantages over short-acting insulins. Since – the shorter the duration of action of insulin, the easier it is to manage. That is, by the time of the next injection of ultrashort insulin (before a meal), it usually takes more than four hours, and, therefore, there is no active insulin in the body since the last injection.
Intermediate-acting insulin (Insuman Bazal, Humulin NPH, Protafan, etc.)
The onset of action is about 1.5-2 hours, duration 8-12 hours. Used as basal insulin, as a rule, you need to do 2 injections a day to control blood glucose levels. As you can see, they have a rather pronounced peak of action several hours after administration, which can lead to the development of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level).
Long-acting insulin analogs (Glargine (Lantus), insulin Detemir (Levemir), insulin Degludec (Tresiba))
They are used as basal insulin. They have the advantage of being peakless. Glargine (Lantus) begins to act in about 1 hour. The duration of action is up to 24 hours. It is recommended to enter once a day. Detemir (Levemir) also begins to act in about 1 hour, with an average duration of 16 hours. It is administered 2 times a day, in rare cases, once a day. And the last insulin from this group, which recently entered the market, is Degludek (Tresiba), with a duration of up to 40 hours.
Also, it should be noted that a new group of insulin preparations to control blood sugar levels has appeared on the world market – inhaled insulins. At the moment they are not allowed for use in our country. They still need to go through a number of large clinical trials. And to be honest, we cannot say that this is a new group of drugs since scientists have long been trying to create an alternative to injections in the form of inhalation and insulin in tablets. But in the summer of 2014, the American Federation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Sanofi’s Afrezza inhaled insulin for use in the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Manufacturers report that this insulin peaks after 20 minutes, which is a great advantage, and the duration of action is significantly shorter than that of ultrashort insulins. But there are also a number of problems. This type of insulin should not be used by people with lung conditions such as bronchial asthma or COPD.
To Sum Up
The market is overwhelmed with various brands of insulin and insulin-like medications: Apidra, Basaglar, Byetta, Fiasp, Humalog, Humulin, Lantus, Novolin, NovoRapid, Tresiba, Trulicity, Victoza, and this is not a complete list. Some of them are rapid-acting, intermediate-acting, or long-acting, having their pros and cons. There is no one the most popular or common brand as the choice of the medication always depends on the type of diabetes (type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes mellitus), medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your doctor before choosing an insulin medication and strictly follow all instructions to avoid severe side effects and unpleasant complications.
To save money on your insulin treatment, you can buy Byetta online as well as any other brand of insulin, but be careful when choosing the online pharmacy.