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Long-Acting Insulin: How Does It Work?

Long-Acting Insulin: How Does It Work?

by Owen Clarke 8 Mar 2022

 Insulin – a vital hormone produced in the body by the pancreas that is responsible for blood glucose and blood sugar control. If people cannot use it properly or don’t produce enough of this hormone, such condition as diabetes mellitus may appear. In order to control this disease and don’t let it affect one’s life quality majorly, special insulin medications are prescribed to a person by their health care provider.

Depending on the type of diabetes, as well as one’s personal needs, long-acting or short-acting insulin can be prescribed to an individual in order to achieve desired results. In today’s article, we would like to discuss the second type in more detail.

What is long-acting insulin? How does it work, and why is it so important? What are the most common types of this remedy? Continue reading to enrich your knowledge of medicines meant to control blood sugar levels together with Insulin.Store!

How Do Long-Acting Insulin Injections Work?

How Do Long-Acting Insulin Injections Work?

Long-acting insulin is typically injected once per day (however, a doctor may prescribe a higher frequency), and its durability, frequency, and other aspects are generally different from the regular, short-acting one.

First of all, it starts acting several hours after the administration (from one to three). One important peculiarity everyone should understand is that a long-acting type doesn’t have a peak time (as short-acting and rapid ones). Its main purpose is to regulate a blood sugar level at a stable rate throughout the day so that a person wouldn’t experience any discomfort or health complications caused by diabetes.

And, of course, durability – one more factor to know before injecting insulin. It is vital to be aware of the acting time of the medication to make sure it is administered on time, and a person wouldn’t experience high blood sugar levels because of the missed dose. Long-acting insulin works for 24 hours or longer and should usually be prescribed in combination with a short-acting one. Of course, this step should always be discussed with a medical professional.

Delivery Methods for a Long’Acting Insulin Therapy

It is a well-known fact that there are plenty of insulin types out there, each of them meant for different purposes, patients, health conditions, and other factors that are considered during the doctor’s appointment. Not many people are aware that there are also a few methods of insulin delivery, which are chosen depending on one’s preference and the overall comfort of the administration process.

Here are four basic methods of insulin delivery to the blood:

  • Insulin vials with syringes. The right dose is drawn into the syringe with the help of a needle; after that, it is injected into the area of the body of choice. Different types of insulins cannot be mixed, as well as the same syringe and needle cannot be shared or used twice. The medication in the vial has to be fully used 28 days after opening, and it cannot be stored longer than that;
  • Insulin pen. This device is considered to be one of the most comfortable ways to have insulin doses. It is small, comfortable to carry around, and usually contains a one-dose amount of the remedy. There are two main types of insulin pens – reusable and one-time. The first ones can be used more than once, the only thing needed to continue using them is to change the insulin cartridge inside. Insulin pens cannot be shared with other individuals as well as insulin vials;
  • Electronic insulin pump. This electronic device can only be used for long-acting insulins. It is specially programmed to deliver insulin through the catheter placed on one of the injection spots. In this way, a person may not worry about the missed dose of the medication;
  • Insulin injection port. This short tube is entered into the body beneath the skin, so the right amount of medicine can be entered with the help of a pen or syringe. In this way, it only demands skin punctures when the tube needs to be changed by a specialist or a person themselves.

Despite the type of the device for blood glucose levels control, regular insulin injections spots still remain the same – thighs, upper arm, abdomen, and buttocks. It is important to be careful not to administer the remedy into the vein or muscle, as well as do not massage the area after the injection. It is also recommended to switch spots for the injection in order to avoid skin irritation, bruising, and bump formation.

Types and Dosages of Long-Acting Insulin. How to Choose?

When you inject long-acting insulin for glucose control, as well as to avoid various dangerous conditions (e.g., extremely high or low blood sugar), It is crucial to be aware of multiple types of insulins available out there. All because, if you have great knowledge in this sphere, the possibility of you getting scammed or tricked will surely be much lower.

Types of medications

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, there are three main forms of long-acting insulin currently available on the market – insulin glargine, insulin detemir, and insulin degludec. Each kind has its own special characteristics and is prescribed to different patients.

  • Insulin detemir. Its duration is from 18 to 24 hours, and it should be administered from one to two times per day depending on the doctor’s recommendations;
  • Insulin glargine. The time of action of this one is typically up to 24 hours, and it should be administered daily at the approximately same time;
  • Insulin degludec. The last type has the longest effectiveness – up to 42 hours. It has to be injected daily, but the time doesn’t really matter here.

Every type mentioned above belongs to the basal insulin and is needed to make sure no negative factors will affect blood sugar critically, and a patient will feel well despite the diabetes mellitus. Only a doctor may decide how much insulin a person needs.

The correct dosage

There is no universal dosage for long-acting insulin. The amount of the remedy varies depending on the type of insulin, one’s health peculiarities, and general insulin history.

Typically, a medical professional prescribes a smaller dose to see how an individual would react to a new medication. If everything is okay, the dose can be increased accordingly to one’s needs.

The amount of daily insulin has to be recalculated if any serious changes in case of the changes of such aspects – medications, weight gain or loss, diet correction, and so on. A person cannot change the dosage on their own; otherwise, unexpected health complications may occur in the future.

The Bottom Line

Long-acting insulin is considered to be the type of basal medication that is required to control blood sugar levels properly and, in this way, support one’s health condition. Depending on such factors as health, weight, insulin history, and others, a medical specialist picks the right type of remedy, as well as calculates a perfect dose.

Please mind that this article is available for informational purposes only and cannot replace a proper consultation with a doctor. However, we hope you understand this topic more now. Thank you for reading!

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