Insulin Therapy in Diabetes Mellitus



Insulin therapy plays a crucial role in managing diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and preventing complications. It involves administering insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.

Insulin - Modern HealthMe, Insulin Healthline, WebMD
Patient taking Insulin ; Image Courtesy-Freepik

What is Insulin?

  • Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream into cells for energy.
  • In diabetes, either the pancreas produces insufficient insulin like in Type 1 DM or the body becomes resistant to its effects like in Type 2 DM.

Types of Insulin:

  1. Rapid-acting Insulin:
    • Onset: Within 15 minutes
    • Peak: 1 hour
    • Duration: 2-4 hours
    • Examples: Insulin lispro, insulin aspart
  2. Short-acting Insulin:
    • Onset: Within 30 minutes
    • Peak: 2-3 hours
    • Duration: 3-6 hours
    • Example: Regular insulin
  3. Intermediate-acting Insulin:
  • Onset: 2-4 hours
  • Peak: 4-12 hours
  • Duration: Up to 18 hours
  • Example: NPH insulin

4. Long-acting Insulin:

    • Onset: 1-2 hours
    • Peak: None
    • Duration: Up to 24 hours
    • Examples: Insulin glargine, insulin detemir

    Insulin Therapy in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus:

    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus:
    • In Type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy is essential as the body doesn’t produce insulin.
    • Treatment typically involves multiple daily injections or continuous insulin infusion via a pump.
    Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus:
    • Initially managed with lifestyle changes and oral medications.
    • Insulin therapy may be required as the disease progresses, either alone or in combination with oral medications.


    • Insulin doses are individualized based on factors such as blood sugar levels, carbohydrate intake, and physical activity.
    • Healthcare providers determine the appropriate dose through regular monitoring and adjustments.

    Side Effects:

    • Common side effects include hypoglycemia, weight gain, injection site reactions, and allergic reactions.
    • Proper monitoring and education can help manage these side effects.


    • Insulin is available in various forms, including vials, pre-filled pens, and pumps.
    • Patients receive education on proper administration, storage, and handling.
    • Regular follow-ups with healthcare providers are essential for monitoring and adjusting therapy as needed.

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