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Different Types of Fast-Acting Insulin

types of fast acting insulin

What is fast-acting insulin?

Fast-acting insulin is a form of insulin whose effects have a rapid onset. Typically taken at or prior to a meal, fast acting insulin prevents the surge of blood glucose levels after eating. While it is more commonly used to manage blood sugar levels in patients with type I diabetes, fast-acting insulin is also suitable for those who suffer from type II diabetes.

It is important to note that using fast-acting insulin is associated with a risk of hypoglycemia. Therefore, these compounds should be used cautiously. Many types of fast acting insulin exist, two of which include NovoRapid and Humalog.

Types of fast acting insulin


NovoRapid contains insulin aspart as its active ingredient. Once administered, it acts instantly to regulate glucose levels in the blood. Its effects can be seen 10 to 20 minutes after injection, and typically last for 3 to 5 hours. This insulin can be used before or immediately after meals to keep the post-prandial levels of blood glucose under control. Insulin aspart-based preparations such as NovoRapid can be used in combination with longer-lasting and more intermediate-lasting insulins to maintain an optimal blood sugar level throughout the day.


Manufactured by Eli Lilly, Humalog is infused with insulin lispro as its active ingredient. Designed to take effect quickly, this medication usually starts to work 15 minutes after administration, with results lasting for 2 to 5 hours. With a faster onset of action than soluble insulin, Humalog is suitable to be used around mealtime. As with most fast-acting insulins, it can be used in conjunction with other forms of insulin to prolong the duration of blood sugar maintenance.


Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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