Insulin Information

This is a brief guide to the types of insulin and how long each type of insulin lasts over a 24 hour period.


Here you will find information on the different types of insulin (graphs show insulin action against hours since injection).

Quick Acting Insulin 

Soluble Insulin

  • Actrapid
  • Humulin S
  • Hypurin Porcine Neutral
  • Insuman Rapid

Once injected it is absorbed into the bloodstream and starts to work within 30 minutes, peaking between 2-4 hours after injection and lasts for up to 8 hours. Usually injected 20-30 minutes before main meals.

Quick-Acting Analogue Insulin

  • Humalog
  • Novorapid
  • Apidra

Used instead of soluble insulin, Quick Acting Analogue insulin should ideally be injected 10 - 15 minutes before meals although some individuals prefer to inject with or after food.   It begins to works within 15 minutes of injecting, peaks between 50-90 minutes and can continue to have an effect on blood glucose for 2 to 5 hours, depending on the insulin dose.

Background Insulins 

Isophane Insulin

  • Insulatard
  • Humulin I
  • Hypurin Porcine Isophane
  • Insuman Basal

Isophane Insulins are cloudy in appearance, requiring mixing prior to injection. More often these insulins are taken twice daily in the morning and again at bed time. However may also be once daily. They begin to work 2 hours after injection, peaking at 4-6 hours and last for 8-14 hours.

Long Acting Analogue

  • Levemir (Can be taken once or twice daily)

  • Lantus (Usually once daily but sometimes twice daily)


Long acting analogues are clear in colour, can be used instead of Isophane and last longer, beginning to work 2 hours after injection and last for 18-24 hours.

Mixed Insulins

A mixture of quick acting and longer acting insulin in various strengths.

Mixed human insulin

  • Humulin M3
  • Insuman Comb 15
  • Insuman Comb 25
  • Insuman Comb 50

Usually taken twice daily injected approximately 30 minutes before breakfast and evening meal.

Mixed Analogue

  • Novomix 30
  • Humalog mix 50 (may also be taken 3 x daily breakfast, lunch, evening meal if recommended by your diabetes team)
  • Humalog mix 25

Analogue mixes have a quicker action; they are usually administered twice daily and injected 5 - 15 minutes before meals although some individuals prefer to inject with or after food. 







Fiasp (Novorapid)- faster formulation of insulin aspart

4 mins

1 – 3 hours

3 – 5 hours

Novorapid, Humalog Apidra 100 units/m

5 - 15 mins

50 - 90 mins

2 - 5 hours

Actrapid, HumulinS, Hypurin Neutral

30 mins

2 - 4 hours

Up to 8 hours

Insulatard, Humulin I, Hypurin Isophane  100 units/ml

2 hours

4 - 6 hours

8 - 14 hours

Levemir 100 units/ml (Insulin detemir)

2 hours

No distinct peak

Up to 18 hours

Lantus 100 units/ml (Insulin glargine)

2 hours

No distinct peak

Up to 18 - 24 hours

Abasaglar 100 units/ml

2 hours

No distinct peak

Up to 18 - 24 hours

Toujeo   (Insulin glargine 300 units/ml)


6 hours

No distinct peak

beyond 24 hours

Tresiba   (insulin degludec) available in 2 concentrations: 200 units/mL and 100 units/mL


30-90 mins

No distinct peak

42 hours

Xultophy = Basal Insulin and GLP1

(insulin degludec/liraglutide)

30-90 mins

No distinct peak

42 hours

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