Insulin in the UK

Insulin ranges can be withdrawn
Insulin ranges can be withdrawn

Insulin may be a key part of your treatment if you suffer from diabetes. Insulin enables your body to use glucose.

Different types of insulin can act very differently in different people. Insulin regime suitable for individual patients are tailored by your diabetes care team.

Type or dosage of insulin can be changed if required to meet the individual needs of the patient. Insulin can be packaged in vials (bottles), cartridges or prefilled pens.

The vials are used with syringes, whereas the cartridges are used with pen injectors.

Prefilled pens are disposable pen injectors, which contain insulin. Prefilled pens are useful for people with dexterity or visual problems.

List of insulins

The table highlights the various insulin types, their manufacturers, the insulin source and how it's available. It also highlights insulin ranges that have been discontinued.

Insulin type Name Manufacturer Type Source
Rapid-acting analogue Humalog Lilly analogue vial & cartridge
Humalog Lilly analogue prefilled pen
Novorapid Novo Nordisk analogue vial
Novorapid Penfill Novo Nordisk analogue cartridge
Novorapid Novolet Novo Nordisk analogue prefilled pen
         
Long-acting analogue Lantus Aventis analogue vial, cartridge & prefilled pen
Levemir Novo Nordisk analogue cartridge
   
Short-acting Human Actrapid Novo Nordisk human vial
Actrapid Pen* Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Actrapid Penfill* Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Human Velosulin* Novo Nordisk human vial
Pork Actrapid* Novo Nordisk pork vial
Humaject S* Lilly human prefilled pen
Humulin S Lilly human vial & cartridge
Hypurin Bovine Neutral CP Pharmaceuticals beef vial & cartridge
Hypurin Porcine Neutral CP Pharmaceuticals pork vial & cartridge
Insuman Rapid Aventis Pharma human vial & cartridge
Insuman Rapid Opti Set Aventis Pharma human prefilled pen
         
Medium &
long-acting
Humulin I Lilly human prefilled pen
Humulin I Lilly human vial & cartridge
Humulin Lente Lilly human vial
Humulin ZN Lilly human vial
Human Insulatard Novo Nordisk human vial
Insulatard Penfill Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Human Insulatard Pen* Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Human Monotard* Novo Nordisk human vial
Pork Insulatard* Novo Nordisk pork vial
Human Ultratard* Novo Nordisk human vial
Hypurin Bovine Isophane CP Pharmaceuticals beef vial & cartridge
Hypurin Bovine Lente CP Pharmaceuticals beef vial
Hypurin Bovine Protamine Zinc CP Pharmaceuticals beef vial
Hypurin Porcine Isophane CP Pharmaceuticals pork vial & cartridge
Insuman Basal Aventis Pharma human vial & cartridge
Insuman Basal OptiSet Aventis Pharma human prefilled pen
         
Analogue
mixtures
Humalog Mix25 Lilly analogue cartridge
Humalog Mix25 Lilly analogue prefilled pen
Humalog Mix50 Lilly analogue prefilled pen
NovoMix 30 Novo Nordisk analogue prefilled pen & cartridge
         
Mixtures Humaject M3 Lilly human prefilled pen
Humulin M2 Lilly human cartridge
Humulin M3 Lilly human vial & cartridge
Humulin M5 Lilly human vial
Human Mixtard 30** Novo Nordisk human vial
Human Mixtard 50 Novo Nordisk human vial
Human Mixtard 10 Pen Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Human Mixtard 20 Pen Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Human Mixtard 30 Pen** Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Human Mixtard 40 Pen Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Human Mixtard 50 Pen Novo Nordisk human prefilled pen
Mixtard 10 Penfill Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Mixtard 20 Penfill Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Mixtard 30 Penfill** Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Mixtard 40 Penfill Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Mixtard 50 Penfill Novo Nordisk human cartridge
Pork Mixtard 30* Novo Nordisk pork vial
Hypurin Porcine Isophane 30/70 mix CP Pharmaceuticals pork vial & cartridge
Insuman Comb 15 Aventis Pharma human vial & cartridge
Insuman Comb 15 OptiSet Aventis Pharma human prefilled pen
Insuman Comb 25 Aventis Pharma human vial & cartridge
Insuman Comb 25 OptiSet Aventis Pharma human prefilled pen
Insuman Comb 50 Aventis Pharma human vial & cartridge
Insuman Comb 50 OptiSet Aventis Pharma human prefilled pen

* Denotes that the insulin range is discontinued.
** Mixtard 30 withdrawn on December 31, 2010.

There are three main types of insulin, which are also available in various combinations in pre-mixed form, however there are many brand names.

Rapid-acting analogue insulin

Rapid-acting analogue insulin can be injected 5 to 15 minutes before eating, when eating or immediately after eating. Read more about rapid acting insulin.

Long-acting analogue insulin

Long-acting analogue insulin is a longer acting insulin form. Since this Insulin is more slowly absorbed and its effect last longer, up to 24 hrs in duration. It’s taken only once a day, in the evening. Read more about long acting insulin.

Short–acting insulin

Short–acting, or soluble insulin, works quickly to lower blood glucose and is usually taken 15 to 30 minutes before a meal to compensate for the rise in blood glucose that occurs after a meal. Read more about short acting insulin.

Medium-acting insulin

Medium and long-acting insulin work maintain your blood glucose under control between meals over a period of several hours. Read more about intermediate acting insulin.

Insulin mixtures

Mixtures are combinations of both short and longer acting insulins in various proportions.

Mixtures are taken normally 15 to 30 minutes before a meal to compensate for the rise in blood glucose that occurs after a meal. The longer acting proportion will continue to work in between meals. These insulins are usually cloudy in appearance.

Please note that this information is for general use only. Question about insulin, diabetes or its care please consult your diabetes care team.

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