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What Is the Most Popular Insulin?

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Did you know that insulin is an exceptionally important life-saving medication? Indeed, it helps millions of people who live with diabetes worldwide manage the disease efficiently. However, what exactly is insulin? What types of insulin are there? And finally, which insulin type is the most popular one? Let us figure it out together.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a pharmaceutical product that functions as a substitution for naturally-occurring insulin hormone. It is used to regulate blood sugar levels by means of keeping them within normal range.

The naturally-occurring insulin hormone is produced in the pancreas by the so-called beta cells.

The main function of insulin is to transport food-gained sugar from the blood to body cells. Here is how it works:

  • Whenever a person eats, they get sugar from the food that enters their body.
  • This food-gained sugar, in its turn, gets directly into the bloodstream of a person.
  • As a reaction to this process, the pancreas of a person produces insulin.
  • Insulin transfers the sugar from the blood to body cells.
  • In body cells, insulin is stored and transformed into energy.

Another name for blood sugar is blood glucose.

What is the relation of insulin to diabetes?

Sometimes it happens that the pancreas of a person either produces too little amount of insulin or does not produce it at all. Also, occasionally the human body cannot process the produced insulin properly. These conditions oftentimes lead to the appearance of diabetes mellitus disease.

In simple words, diabetes mellitus might be defined as a chronic health condition that is characterized by high blood sugar levels. Unless treated properly, it serves as a cause of a number of serious complications, such as nerve damage, cognitive deficit, eye destruction, kidney problems, blurred vision, or stroke. In the worst cases, it might become fatal.

Before the discovery of insulin, people with diabetes mellitus had an extremely low life expectancy. Frequently, they had to stick to a strict diet that shouldn’t exceed 500 calories a day.

Here are the three main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is probably the most serious form of the disease. It makes a person dependent on regular injections of diabetes drugs (for instance, insulin). While type 2 diabetes, in its turn, might also be effectively managed with the help of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Finally, gestational diabetes is a form of the disease that occurs during pregnancy and tends to disappear after the delivery of a baby.

Without proper diabetes treatment, gestational diabetes might turn into type 2 diabetes instead of fading away.

Types of insulin

Depending on the duration of their action, insulin might be divided into the following five types:

  • Rapid-acting insulin (namely, insulin lispro, insulin aspart, and insulin glulisine). The working principle of the medication is similar to the one of the naturally-occurring insulin, which is why it efficiently avoids the risk of low blood sugar. The duration of its action equals up to 5 hours.
  • Short-acting insulin. Due to its main characteristics, it is sometimes called regular insulin. In most cases, the medication remains within the human body from 6–8 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin (for instance, isophane insulin). While being oftentimes based on basal insulin, the duration of its action might last from 16 to 24 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin (such as insulin glargine or insulin detemir). In most cases, it is also based on basal insulin. It has the longest duration of action, which lasts about 24 hours.
  • Mixed insulin. While being a mixture of insulin of either rapid or short action with insulin of the intermediate action, it might last for various time periods.

Only people with valid healthcare certificates might define which insulin type will fit the needs of a patient best. It is exclusively their task to provide a patient with a piece of advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Each type of insulin that is mentioned above might appear in different forms, such as a syringe, a vial, a prefilled pen, or an infusion pump. For instance, you might either use a Humalog vial or a Humalog pen, depending on your individual preferences and personal health conditions.

Diabetes care is the most efficient when it comes to insulin injections (no matter whether they are performed with the help of insulin syringes, insulin pens, or insulin pumps). However, there exist no insulin-based diabetes pills that have turned out to be as effective as injections.

What is the most popular insulin?

Among the most popular insulin brands all around the world are:

  • NovoLog. This trademark of insulin aspart is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It functions as a rapid-acting medication that is used for efficient blood sugar control in adults and children with type 1 diabetes.
  • Humalog. It is one more widely-spread brand of rapid-acting insulin that is manufactured by the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. It might be effectively employed as an insulin lispro injection in adults and children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Humulin. It is one more trademark manufactured by Lilly. While producing medications of intermediate action that are based on insulin isophane, it is actively employed in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Lantus. While being manufactured by Sanofi, it is a brand of insulin glargine medications. They have a long period of action and are efficiently employed to treat high levels of glucose in the blood of patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Levemir. Similar to NovoLog, Levemir is a trademark that is manufactured by Novo Nordisk. However, it is a medication of long action that is based on insulin detemir to manage diabetes in people with type 2 diabetes.

Definitely, the above-mentioned brands of insulin are not the only ones that are widely spread. Namely, there exists a great number of other medications that are oftentimes used to take care of diabetes mellitus, such as other insulins and their analogs.

It is of vital importance for healthcare professionals to define the correct insulin dose for each patient. Please keep in mind that the excessive amount of the medication might cause severe hypoglycemia and a number of low blood sugar reactions related to it. As well it might serve as a trigger for serious side effects, such as trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat (or, in some cases, fast heartbeat), changes in fat tissue, allergic reactions, and a bunch of other medical conditions.

Bottom line

All in all, there exists a great number of various insulin types and other medications that are used to treat diabetes mellitus. Despite the fact that NovoLog, Humalog, Humulin, Lantus, and Levemir belong to the most popular insulin brands all around the world, a great number of other medicines are effectively employed in the regulation of blood glucose levels. So, consult with your health care practitioner, buy insulin that matches your individual needs best, and stay healthy at all times.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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