What is the role of rapid-acting insulins in the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Rapid-acting insulins include lispro, glulisine, and aspart insulin. Lispro insulin is a form of regular insulin that is genetically engineered with the reversal of the amino acids lysine and proline at B28,29 in the B chain. Glulisine insulin substitutes glutamic acid for lysine in position B29. Aspart insulin substitutes aspartic acid for proline in position 28 of the B chain.

These insulins are absorbed more quickly and have a rapid onset of action (5-10 minutes), a short interval to peak action (45-75 minutes), and a short duration of action (2-4 hours). Therefore, they can be administered shortly before eating. In addition, neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin will not inhibit the action of insulin lispro when the 2 agents are mixed together right before injection; this is not true of regular insulin.

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