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What is the significance of intermediate-acting insulin?

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Significance of Intermediate-Acting Insulin

The treatment of Type 1 diabetes has evolved substantially in recent years. Significance of intermediate-acting insulin is to increase the ability to maintain near-normal glycemia by controlling parameters such as onset, peak, and duration of action. Lispro, a rapid-acting insulin, is an excellent lunchtime insulin. Intermediate- and long-acting insulins keep insulin levels nearly steady throughout the day. Long-acting insulin can be given once a day at bedtime or, ideally, twice a day in combination with another kind of insulin.

significance of intermediate-acting insulin

Intermediate-acting insulin is a type of insulin that is used to treat diabetes. It is referred to as “intermediate-acting” because it sits somewhere between rapid-acting insulins (which operate fast but have a short duration of action) and long-acting insulins (which deliver a slow, steady release of insulin over an extended period of time).

An isophane solution of human insulin is called NPH insulin, and it is a type of insulin that works in the middle range. In the liver, fat tissue, and skeletal muscles, it helps the cells take in more glucose. It works like base insulin and tells the liver to make more glucose and utilize fatty acids for lipoprotein production. It speeds up the production of glycogen and protein in skeletal muscles. In fat tissue, it helps make triglycerides and controls lipolysis by stopping the breakdown of triglycerides. At the level of the cell, it opens up the cell barrier so that ions like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus can pass through. This makes the cells take in more of these ions.

Significance of intermediate-acting insulin


Flexible insulin regimens are based on planned actions in response to blood glucose and carbohydrate intake self-monitoring. For numerous reasons, intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin, is helpful in diabetes control. Primary significance of intermediate-acting insulin includes:

1. Balanced Blood Sugar Control: Significance of intermediate-acting insulin is that it strikes a balance between rapid-acting insulins, which are used to cover meals, and long-acting insulins, which offer a constant level of insulin throughout the day. This balance assists individuals in maintaining more stable blood sugar levels between meals and overnight.

2. Post-Meal Control: Its peak effect occurs 4 to 8 hours after injection and aids in the control of blood sugar levels following meals. As a result, it is a powerful tool for addressing the postprandial (after-meal) rise in blood sugar, which is an important element of overall diabetes control.

Post-Meal Control

3. Extended Coverage: Significance of intermediate-acting insulin is that it has an action time of 10 to 16 hours. This extended coverage helps to maintain blood sugar management throughout the day, minimizing the need for frequent injections.

4. Versatility: Another significance of intermediate-acting insulin is that it can be combined in the same syringe with both short-acting and rapid-acting insulins. This combination enables personalized insulin therapy, which provides both rapid and intermediate blood sugar management. It can more nearly match the body’s natural insulin secretion rhythm.

5. Economical: Intermediate-acting insulin is frequently less expensive than some of the newer, long-acting insulin analogs. This makes it a viable option for people who require insulin therapy but have financial constraints.

6. Flexibility: For people with erratic schedules or meal times, intermediate-acting insulin can provide greater meal planning flexibility than some long-acting insulin analogs’ rigorous dose schedules.

7. Combination Therapy: It is routinely combined with rapid-acting insulin to form mixed insulin regimens that address both immediate and long-term blood sugar control. This hybrid method enables customization to meet an individual’s demands.

8. Diverse Patient Needs: Not all diabetics require the same amount of insulin. Significance of intermediate-acting insulin is that it can be very useful for people who have specialized needs, such as those who have considerable post-meal blood sugar rises or who cannot afford newer, more expensive insulin formulations.

9. Time-Tested: Intermediate-acting insulin has been around for a long time and has a proven safety and efficacy profile. It is well-known among healthcare providers, making it a dependable alternative for diabetes control.


All brands of intermediate-acting insulin contain 100 units of insulin per 1ml of liquid. You’ll usually take a dose of intermediate-acting insulin once or twice a day. If you take it once day, try to stick to the same time each day. If you take it twice a day, take your doses between 8 and 12 hours apart, depending on your daily routine, and try to stick to the same time each day. Your doctor or diabetes nurse will tell you how many units of insulin you’ll need to take and when to take your doses.

significance of intermediate-acting insulin

When should you take intermediate-acting insulin?

The dosage of intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin, varies from person to person and is determined by personal characteristics such as diabetes type, blood sugar levels, lifestyle, and other medications used. Working together with a healthcare physician to find the optimal dosage and insulin protocol for your unique needs is critical.

The amount of intermediate-acting insulin you require is determined by the following factors:

  • Your weight
  • The type of diabetes you have
  • Physical activity
  • Current medication
  • When you are sick, you must adjust your dose. Other conditions when you will be required to change dosage is:
    • If you’re stressed in hot or cold weather
    • If you’re changing exercising
    • If you’re starting or stopping some medications during menopause
    • If you’re pregnant while developing
    • If you’re a youngster or young person
    • If you’re fasting
    • If your daily routine changes

It is critical to note that insulin therapy should be chosen on an individual basis, and the specific insulin regimen should be developed in collaboration with a healthcare professional. The type and timing of insulin should be chosen by the individual’s diabetes type, lifestyle, blood sugar control goals, and other factors. Significance of intermediate-acting insulin that it remains an important tool in diabetes therapy, giving a well-rounded approach to blood sugar control.

Limitations of Intermediate-Acting Insulin

Intermediate-acting insulin is a type of insulin used to manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Significance of intermediate-acting Insulin is that it falls between rapid-acting and long-acting insulin in terms of its onset, peak, and duration of action.  While intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn), is extensively used but the limitations of intermediate-acting insulin in the management of diabetes are:

  • NPH insulin has a peak action, which means it is most effective in lowering blood sugar levels at a specified period. This peak can cause blood sugar variations, making it difficult to maintain regular control, especially if meal timing and quantity change.
  • Because of its peak effect, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is more likely during the hours when NPH insulin is at its greatest. This is especially true if meals are delayed or skipped.
  • NPH insulin is normally taken at the same time every day, making it less adaptable for persons with irregular schedules or who want to vary their mealtimes.
  • NPH insulin takes a few hours after injection to start acting, therefore it may not be ideal for people who require immediate blood sugar management.
  • Individuals receiving NPH insulin must often eat meals and snacks at specified times to avoid blood sugar swings. This can be difficult for folks who have erratic schedules or prefer greater flexibility in their eating habits.
  • NPH insulin may not be the ideal option for persons who have specific demands, such as pregnant women with gestational diabetes or those who need precise blood sugar management during exercise or overnight.
  • NPH insulin toxicity can lead to severe hypoglycemia, which can cause seizures and even neurological problems that can’t be fixed. It could put your life in danger or even kill you. Hypoglycemia is more likely to happen in people who have problems with their kidneys or liver.

In brief, intermediate-acting insulin serves as a vital component in the management of diabetes by functioning as an intermediary between long-acting basal insulin and rapid-acting or short-acting insulin administered during meals. Insulin with an intermediate duration of action, which generally persists for a maximum of 12 hours, aids in the regulation of blood glucose levels throughout the night and between meals. The significance of intermediate-acting insulin rests in the fact that it provides individuals with diabetes with flexibility, enabling them to effectively regulate glucose levels both during fasting and after meals.

Another significance of intermediate-acting insulin is that it enhances the efficacy of other insulin varieties, thereby augmenting the overall insulin regimen that strives for optimal regulation of blood glucose levels and mitigating the likelihood of complications linked to uncontrolled diabetes. When incorporated into a customized treatment regimen, intermediate-acting insulin improves the accuracy and flexibility necessary for personalized diabetes management.

Before reading this article – Significance of Intermediate-acting Insulin, I suggest that you read more other articles related to diabetes. Remember that regular physical exercise is crucial to treating diabetes or managing prediabetes, along with your diet planning, weight management, and medications. You can see all our Diabetic Supplies products here. Visit our Facebook account.

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