There are 2 types of insulin:

  • Rapid-acting insulin
  • Long-acting insulin

What should I know about rapid-acting insulin?

  1. The level of sugar in the blood starts going up very fast when carbohydrate breaks down into sugar in the body. Rapid-acting insulin opens the door on the body cell so sugar can get out of the blood and into the cell fast.
  2. Give yourself rapid-acting insulin before eating carbohydrate at meal times.
    • Taking rapid-acting insulin 15 minutes before eating is best. This will give better blood sugar control than taking it just before eating.
    • It can work right away, as your blood sugar starts to go up.
  3. Most people take rapid-acting insulin 3 times a day, because they eat 3 meals a day.
  4. Brands of rapid-acting insulin are:
    • Humalog
    • Novolog
    • Apidra

Your diabetes doctor will prescribe the brand of insulin your insurance covers.

What should I know about long-acting insulin?

  • Your body needs a small amount of insulin working all the time. Long-acting insulin does that for you.
  • You need to take long-acting insulin 1 time a day.
  • Your first blood sugar in the morning when you wake up will be too high without a little bit of insulin working 24 hours a day.
  • Brands of long-acting insulin are:
    • Lantus
    • Levemir
    • Toujeo
    • Basaglar
    • Tresiba

All of them give the body a continuous little bit of insulin that lasts for 24 hours or longer.

  • You must take long-acting insulin at the same time each day. That way you always have a little bit of insulin in your body.
  • Never miss your long-acting insulin.
  • Your diabetes doctor will prescribe the brand of insulin your insurance covers.

Insulin storage

Before the first time you use a new insulin bottle, cartridge, or pen:

  • Check the expiration date.
  • Insulin should look clear.
  • Insulin should be stored in the refrigerator at 36° F to 46° F.
  • Do not let insulin freeze.

After you open an insulin bottle, cartridge, or pen (which means you puncture the top with a needle):

  • Bottles may be stored in the refrigerator or kept at room temperature.
  • Cartridges and pens should be stored at room temperature.
  • Throw all opened insulin away after 28 days. Except Levemir, that lasts 42 days.
  • Store opened insulin at room temperature, between 59° F and 86° F, and away from direct heat and sun.
  • Do not let it get hot.
  • Do not let it freeze.
  • Never store it in your car.

Traveling with insulin

  • Take more supplies with you than you will need.
  • Protect your insulin from heat and from freezing.
    • Do not store it in the glove compartment.
  • Carry it with you at all times.
    • Do not check it with luggage on an airplane. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
    • Check with the TSA for more information about flying with insulin.