Insulin/medication options

It is necessary to take insulin as your body no longer makes enough and it needs to be replaced. Your doctor will prescribe a brand, type and regimen that will work best for you. This dose may need to be adjusted so that you can control your blood sugars better.

How do I give insulin?

Most people today use pens to give their insulin injections although there are still some who prefer to use the syringes. Others may decide to use the Insulin pump. There are different companies that make insulin (including: Novo Nordisk, Lilly and Sanofi Aventis). There are many different types of insulin as well.

Learn more about injectable medications for diabetes.

Insulin action principles

Injected insulin ideally mimics the way a healthy pancreas secretes insulin.

There are 2 parts:

  1. The background or basal insulin: Normally, our pancreas should give us a slow, steady amount of insulin overnight and between meals. The long-acting insulin you inject acts similarly and can be given once or twice daily. Examples of long acting analogues include Glargine (Lantus, Basaglar, Toujeo), Detemir (Levemir), and Degludec (Tresiba) or it may be a human insulin like NPH.

    If you are on a pump the basal is made up of all rapid insulin.
  2. Bolus or meal-time insulin: Normally, our pancreas should give us extra insulin for the food we eat. The insulin you inject is doing a similar thing.  This is called rapid-acting insulin or short-acting insulin that will be taken with your meals. Examples of a rapid acting analog are Aspart (Novorapid, Fiasp), Glulisine (Apidra), or Lispro (Humalog) and an example of human insulin is regular insulin.

    You can learn to match your food accurately to your carbohydrate intake with assistance from your diabetes educators. Usually your background insulin is about 50% of your total insulin dose and the remaining 50% is meal time insulin.

It is important to know the action of the insulin you take including the onset, peak, and duration.

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