Insulin Analog

Insulin analog has a clear consistency. Photodisc/Getty Images

Insulin Analog:

An insulin analog is a type of insulin that has been chemically modified to either act faster or slower than the type of insulin naturally made by the body. Researchers modify insulin this way to more quickly cover for meals or to make the insulin last longer thereby taking fewer injections. These genetic alterations of insulin do not affect its ability to lower blood sugar (glucose) but does affect the rate at which the insulin is absorbed, and how quickly the insulin starts working and how long it continues working in the body.

Three rapid-acting insulin analogs

One rapid-acting insulin analog goes by the generic name of insulin lispro and is marketed by Eli Lilly under the brand name Humalog. Humalog has been available since 1966.

A more recent rapid-acting insulin analog is called insulin aspart. This was approved by the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) in 2000 and is marketed by Novo Nordisk under the brand name NovoLog.

The most recent addition to rapid-acting insulin analogs is called insulin glulisine and became available in 2006. It is best known by its brand name Apidra and is marketed by Sanofi-Aventis.

Rapid-acting insulin analogs usually begin working within 15 minutes after injection, reach peak effectiveness in 30-90 minutes and have a duration of up to five hours.

Long-acting insulin analogs

Long-acting insulin analogs have been genetically altered to prolong the release of insulin in the body. There are currently two long-acting insulins that are designed to acts as basal insulin, or the ongoing insulin that is needed to manage normal fluctuations in blood sugar between meals and during sleep.

The first long-acting basal insulin was approved by the FDA in 2000 and goes by the generic name of insulin glargine. Glargine is manufactured by Aventis Pharmaceuticals and is marketed under the brand name Lantus.

The second long-acting insulin was approved in 2005 and is called insulin detemir. Detemir is marketed under the brand name Levemir and manufactured by Novo Nordisk.

Both Lantus and Levemir begin working within about an hour after injection but are released very slowly and evenly into the bloodstream with no significant peak in the action. These basal insulins are designed to continue working for up to 24 hours and are usually supplemented with additional injections of rapid-acting or short acting insulin at meals.


Insulin. American Diabetes Association. " Consumer’s Guide 2011. " Diabetes Forecast, January 2011, Vol, 64, No. 1.

Hieronymus, L. M.S.Ed., A.P.R.N., B.C.-A.D.M., C.D.E., Geil, P. M.S., R.D., C.D.E. "Types of Insulin. " Diabetes Self-Management, 2009.

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