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

Updated: Jul 28, 2020
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Short-acting insulin includes regular insulin. Regular insulin is a preparation of zinc insulin crystals in solution. When it is administered subcutaneously, its onset of action occurs in 0.5 hours, its peak activity comes at 2.5-5 hours, and its duration of action is 4-12 hours.

The standard strength of regular insulin is 100 U/mL (U-100), but 500 U/mL (U-500) insulin is increasingly used, albeit mostly in type 2 DM. Accidental prescribing of U-500 rather than U-100 is a potential safety issue. [116] A study by de la Pena et al found that although the overall insulin exposure and effects of 500 U/mL insulin are similar to those of 100 U/mL insulin, peak concentration was significantly lower with U-500, and the effect after the peak was prolonged; areas under the curve were similar for the 2 strengths. [117]


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