How Insulin Works

Insulin preparation
Onset of action
Peak
Duration of action
Lispro (Humalog)
<15 minutes
1-2 hours
3-6 hours
Aspart (Novolog)
<15 minutes
1-2 hours
3-6 hours
Glulisine (Apidra)
<15 minutes
1-2 hours
3-6 hours
Regular (Novolin R, Humulin R)
30-60 minutes
2-4 hours
6-10 hours
Humulin R Regular U-500
30-60 minutes
2-4 hours
Up to 24 hours
NPH (Novolin N, Humulin N, ReliOn)
2-4 hours
4-8 hours
10-18 hours
Glargine (Lantus)
1-2 hours
Usually no peak
Up to 24 hours
Detemir (Levemir)
1-2 hours
Usually no peak **
Up to 24 hours**
Glargine Injection (Toujeo)
6 hours
No true peak
24-36 hours
Afrezza
<15 minutes
Approx. 50 minutes
2-3 hours




Premixed Insulins***
Onset of action
Peak
Duration of action
Novolin 70/30,
Humulin 70/30
30-60 minutes
2-10 hours
10-18 hours
Humalog 75/25,
Novolog 70/30,
Humalog 50/50
10-30 minutes
1-6 hours
10-14 hours

 *Information derived from a combination of manufacturer's prescribing information and clinical studies. Individual response to insulin preparations may vary.
**Peak and length of action may depend on size of dose and length of time since initiation of therapy
***Premixed insulins are more variable in peak and duration of action. For instance, even though the literature states that the effects may last for up to 24 hours many people find that they will need to take a dose every 10-12 hours.

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