Types of Insulin for Diabetes Treatment
Insulin Dosing Schedule for Diabetes
Follow your health care provider's guidelines on when to take your insulin for your diabetes. The time span between your insulin shot and meals may vary depending on the type of insulin you are taking.
In general, however, you should coordinate your insulin injection with when you want to eat. From the chart above, the "onset" column provides useful information. Again, the "onset" refers to when the insulin will begin to work in your body. You want the insulin to begin working in your body at the same time your food is being absorbed. This timing will help avoid low blood sugar levels.
Rapid acting insulins. If you take Novolog or another rapid-acting injectable insulin, you should self inject about 10 minutes before mealtime.
Short-acting insulins. Such as regular insulin, should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before a meal. Intermediate-acting insulins should be taken up to 1 hour prior to a meal.
Pre-mixed insulins. Depending on the product used, premixed solutions should be taken 10 minutes or 30 to 45 minutes before mealtime.
Exceptions to Insulin Dosing and Timing
Injections of long-acting insulins are not "timed" to mealtime because of their long duration of action. Ultralente and Levemir are taken once or twice a day irrespective of mealtime. Lantus is only administered once a day (and should be administered at the same time each day). Keep in mind that these long-acting insulins may need to be given with shorter-acting insulin products --depending on your individual situation -- that will likely need to be "timed" with mealtime. Some people with type 2 diabetes may be given long acting insulin to be used in combination with an oral drug as well.
Finally, the rapid-acting products can also be taken immediately after a meal (rather than 15 minutes before mealtime). Some products can also be administered at bedtime.
For more information about when to take insulin, read the "dosing and administration" section of the insulin product package insert that came with your insulin product or call your doctor.