The Types of Insulin on the Market 

There are many different types of insulin on the market today, with brand names like Lantus, Apidra, and Levemir. So what do these insulins have in common? They’re all forms of rapid-acting insulin and are used to control blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2. So if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s essential to know the difference between these various types of insulin and when and how to use them.

Regular Insulin

There are three main types of insulin: fast-acting, medium-acting, and long-acting. The most common type of insulin is called regular insulin. It’s a short-acting form of insulin that starts to work about 30 minutes after injecting it and peaks at two hours. It lasts around five hours in your body before it wears off.

Basal Insulin

Basal insulin is an injection or a pump that delivers insulin to your system throughout the day. Tandem Diabetes designs them to keep blood sugar levels constant between meals.

Lente Insulin

The first type of insulin developed, Lente insulin (also known as NPH), is still in use today. Its development began in an attempt to mimic natural pancreatic beta cells. Lente is a long-acting form of insulin that lasts up to 24 hours. As a result, patients do not need to inject it before each meal; instead, it can be administered once daily at bedtime.

Ultralente Insulin

Ultralente insulin is one type of rapid-acting insulin. It works quickly to lower blood sugar, but it’s also short-acting, which means its effects wear off after around 3–5 hours. This means you will need to take more than one dose of Ultralente insulin daily.

Glargine Insulin

This type is a synthetic version of a hormone produced by your pancreas, known as glucagon. It is not fast-acting like regular insulin, meaning it has an even release over time.

Detemir Insulin

Detemir is an insulin product that comes in vials. It is chemically neutral and does not require refrigeration until opened. Detemir’s active ingredient is detemir, which is human insulin produced by recombinant DNA technology.

Levemir Insulin

Levemir insulin is ultra-long-acting insulin that can last more than 24 hours in your body. If you take one daily injection, you won’t have to worry about scheduling your injections around meals.


Lispro is a popular short-acting variant of Lantus, otherwise known as glargine. This insulin works quickly, usually about 20-30 minutes after injection. It does not last as long as glargine, having a duration of activity of around 3 hours.


This insulin is a popular short-acting variant of Apidra, otherwise known as Lispro. However, it has a more rapid onset compared to its predecessor. In addition, it also peaks at a much faster rate than regular Lispro. Despite these differences, Glulisine still offers many benefits to those who use it as part of their diabetes treatment plan.

Each type of insulin has its own purpose, so educating yourself on what you’re using is essential. For example, if you have diabetes, ensure your doctor knows which type of insulin you are taking.