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Types of Insulin and How It Works

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In this whiteboard lesson, Dr. Carmen Corder from Health Ed Solutions guides healthcare providers through an engaging lesson on how insulin works. Dr. Corder explains the different types of insulin and covers its onset, peak, and duration. If you’re in nursing school or a nurse needing an insulin refresher, this is a great lesson!

Hey everyone it’s dr carmen quarter here with health ed solutions and today’s lesson is on insulin don’t forget to visit us online at for more free content now let’s get started we’re going to talk about several different types of insulin the most common types of insulin that you’re going to see in practice in the hospital setting and be

Tested over in this video so let’s just talk about these three terms up here at the top so we’ve got the onset which that is when the insulin kicks in okay that’s when it starts working the peak is when the insulin is working the hardest it’s kicking in and fighting hyperglycemia at its peak level with the strongest punch and the duration is basically another

Word for when the insulin is out of the patient’s system so we’re going to start with the rapid acting insulins and i’ve got listed under rapid acting the most common ones that you’ll see are the list pro and the ass part now you’ll see the as part this is the novel log it ends in log that we give most commonly for sliding scale insulin so when you’re checking

Your patient’s blood sugar usually it’s order acnhs or every six hours and when you’re in clinical you’re going to check your patients blood sugar before lunch right for that every six hours or achs schedule and if their sugar is high they’re going to require sliding scale insulin well most of the hospitals now have moved to using one of the rapid acting

Types of insulin to cover sliding scale needs so most of the time you’ll be giving nova log and that is one of the reasons you’ll see that the onset here is within 30 minutes for all of the rapid acting so no later than 30 minutes these insulin start working and kicking in so that is why we can’t go in and say check our patients blood sugar at 10 30 and give

Them their insulin when their lunch trays are not going to be around until say 12 30 okay because the insulin by then it’s going to be peaking out so it’s going to be working at its most powerful rate within two hours so the onset of your rapid acting your list pro nova log the onset is within 30 minutes so within 30 minutes that insulin is working it is

Peaking within about two hours so if you give this rapid acting insulin that’s what’s called rapid acting it is peaking out within two hours so it’s packing its full punch in two hours and then within about four hours it’s out of the patient’s system so the rapid acting is in and out within four to five hours and these are kind of generalizations because when

You start trying to remember you know 15 to 30 minutes you know 30 minutes to an hour it gets a little hard to remember but just remember that you’re rapid acting or your list pro your novalog as part and the peak really is the most probably important factor that you need to remember that’s what you’re going to be tested over they’re going to ask you things

Like when would you want to you know make sure that the patient has their food after administering this type of insulin and you obviously want to make sure that they have their food before the insulin is at its peak next we have the short acting and we used to use the short acting or the regular most often but it seems like most the hospitals that i’m working

In now have switched over to the rapid acting now the onset for the short acting is within an hour some of them are going to start working within 30 minutes but all of them will be working within one hour of giving that insulin injection it takes a little bit longer for the short acting to peak so within three hours these insulins peak out and then within

About eight hours these insulins are out of the patient’s system so your rapid and your short acting they do their job and they’re out of the system within eight hours all right and that is your novel and r or your regular insulin moving on down to your intermediate acting you can see with the duration between the short acting versus the intermediate there

Is a huge difference so when you go from short acting to intermediate acting there’s a huge difference in the duration of these insulins so nph is your intermediate acting insulin so i think of intermediate nph and it has an onset between one to two hours so it’s definitely going to be in the system and working within two hours at the most it peaks out in 10

Hours you’ll see different ranges some will say 8 to 14 hours but i’m giving you an approximation so within about 10 hours of receiving that insulin at nph it is peaking out at its peak working power if you will and then the duration within about 18 hours it’s out of the system so this insulin hangs around for quite some time 18 hours then finally our long

Acting live amir i remember long-acting live amir but anytime you see an insulin that ends in ir or ear mirror it is a long-acting insulin and this is the type of insulin that you night shift nurses will give at night to protect the patient overnight from hyperglycemia and it again has an onset see all your onsets of your insulins are pretty close they all

Start working within about the same amount of time the big differences are the peak and duration so within one to two hours the levomir or the detemir is working it doesn’t peak for 18 hours and then within about 24 hours it is out of the patient’s system so long acting is your levomir it’s onset you know again it’s not too different than the rest of your

Insulins the peak is in 18 hours and within 24 it is out of the patient’s system that’s it for our lesson today thanks for watching and remember to check out our website at for more free content or to get certified or re-certified online

Transcribed from video
Types of Insulin and How It Works By Health Ed Solutions