What Is an Intermediate-Acting Insulin?

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what is intermediate acting insulin

Insulin shots are one of the widely used medications for type 1 diabetes. It helps lower blood sugar levels and stabilizes the glucose the body takes during or after eating. Insulin medications have different types, and one of them is an intermediate-acting insulin.

What is intermediate acting insulin?

Also known as isophane insulin, intermediate-acting insulins are types of medications that control and help manage high blood glucose in people with type 1 diabetes. This medication is also prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes; however, oral drugs are their primary treatment.

Intermediate-acting insulins work best when administered alongside a proper diet and regular exercise. They are a human-made form of insulin, usually combined with short-acting types of insulin. Some of the popular generic and brand names of intermediate-acting insulin are as follows:

  • Humulin N
  • Novolin N
  • Insulin NPH

You can administer intermediate-acting insulins subcutaneously under the skin like other insulin medications. Its injection sites include the stomach region, buttocks, back of the upper arm, and thighs. Proper usage of isophane insulin improves glycemic control in people with types 1 and 2 diabetes.

The following are the side effects of using intermediate-acting insulins

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling
  • Blurry vision
  • Sudden sweating

How long does intermediate acting insulin last?

In learning about the effects and functions of intermediate-acting insulin, it is necessary to know its onset, peak time, and duration.

  • Onset – 2 to 4 hours
  • Peak time – 4 to 12 hours
  • Duration – 12 to 18 hours

One dose of intermediate-acting insulin covers insulin needs for half a day or overnight. Combining it with rapid-acting or short-acting insulin makes efficient and better treatment. If dosage adjustment is necessary, only do so after your healthcare professional’s approval and prescription.

The effects of intermediate-acting insulins can last long, which is essential for long-term diabetes treatments. However, be cautious of the side effects that the medication triggers. Consult with your healthcare professional if these side effects persist longer than expected.