Sometimes, people with diabetes can treat this disease through diet and exercise alone. However, that’s not always the case – everyone with type 1 diabetes needs to use insulin to manage their condition, and the same is true for some individuals with type 2 diabetes.
One common insulin analog product is insulin lispro, sold under the brand name “Humalog” and manufactuered by Eli Lilly. If you have diabetes and wonder if this product is right for you, keep reading for the ADS guide to insulin lispro, the bioequivalent to Lilly’s Humalog.
What is Insulin Lispro?
Insulin lispro is a type of bolus insulin used to lower after-meal glucose levels. You may be prescribed insulin lispro to treat your diabetes. In that case, it can help to understand the vital role insulin plays in your health, along with the characteristics that define this type of insulin.
Usually, specific cells in the pancreas called “beta cells” produce insulin. Insulin’s job is to help the body use or store the glucose derived from carbohydrates in your food. Basal insulin (sometimes called background insulin) helps regulate glucose levels between meals and is released 24 hours a day. On the other hand, the pancreas releases bolus insulin in direct response to the ingestion of food to manage the rise in blood glucose that immediately follows.
When the body doesn’t produce insulin (as seen in type 1 diabetes) or when it becomes resistant to using insulin properly (as is the case for people with gestational and type 2 diabetes), cells can no longer access the energy they need. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood, which can result in serious complications. Some people with diabetes receive a prescription for insulin to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
There are two varieties of bolus insulin: rapid-acting insulin and short-acting insulin. Insulin lispro is a rapid-acting insulin, which means it is:
- Absorbed quickly from your fat tissue (subcutaneous) into the bloodstream.
- Used to control the blood sugar during meals and snacks and to correct high blood sugars.
How to Use Insulin Lispro
To understand how insulin lispro works in your body, you need to know that insulin has an action curve with three phases:
- Onset: The amount of time that lapses between when you inject insulin and when it starts to affect blood sugar levels.
- Peak: The point at which insulin is working at maximum capacity.
- Duration: How long insulin continues to work after taking effect.
Since insulin lispro is a rapid-acting insulin, it is taken at mealtimes and starts working in 15 minutes or less. It peaks anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes, and it remains in the bloodstream for up to three to five hours.
Because it starts working so quickly, patients generally take rapid-acting insulin within 15 minutes of eating – either within the 15 minutes before a meal or as much as 15 minutes after starting to eat.
If you have any questions about using this medication, talk with your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare provider.
Delivering Insulin Lispro
Insulin lispro and other types of insulin usually get injected into the subcutaneous tissue – that is, the fatty tissue located just under the skin. The body areas used most commonly for insulin injections are the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.
You can deliver insulin in three ways:
- Insulin vial and syringe. The traditional way of taking insulin, in which patients use a needle to draw insulin from a vial and inject it.
- Insulin pens and dosing devices. Insulin pens are usually the size of a large fountain pen. Some are reusable, and some are disposable. Disposable pens come prefilled with insulin, while reusable models use a cartridge filled with insulin.
- Insulin pumps. These are small, computerized, mechanical devices about the size of a pager. You can wear these pumps on your belt or in a pocket, and they deliver a steady stream of rapid- or short-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a needle attached to a flexible plastic tube. Whenever you eat, you press a button on the pump to give yourself bolus insulin.
Storage of Insulin Lispro
As is the case for all unopened insulin products, you must store unopened insulin lispro in the refrigerator. Refrigerate this medication at 36° to 46°F (2° to 8°C), and make sure it is not frozen. Opened insulin lispro vials may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature; opened insulin lispro cartridges and prefilled pens can only be stored at room temperature and should not be refrigerated. Throw away all insulin lispro in use after 28 days, even if there is still some left. Along with this, throw away all insulin products after the expiration date on the package.
Insulin Lispro and Medicare
When your physician prescribes insulin, you must find a method of delivery that works for you. Expense and insurance coverage may influence your choice, but it’s equally important to take convenience and level of manual dexterity into account. Having your insulin billed to your Medicare Part B benefit may help you save on out-of-pocket expenses and get the delivery method you need.
Along with this, having your insulin billed to your Medicare Part B benefit will help avoid costs that affect your Part D/Pharmacy Benefit “doughnut hole.” Make sure to work with your physician and your diabetes care team to choose and learn to use the best method for you.
Choose ADS for Insulin Lispro
Are you a Medicare patient using an insulin pump with pump supplies billed to your Medicare Part B benefit? If so, and if you live in the continental United States, ADS can deliver Eli Lilly’s Insulin Lispro directly to you. It’s easy to get started – just give us a call at 877.838.3026 and ask for our Insulin Team!
Of course, insulin isn’t the only diabetes-related product we carry. While you’re visiting ADS’ web page, take a look at our online catalog! We can help you find CGM systems, diabetes testing supplies, insulin pumps, and more.
American Diabetes Association. Insulin basics. Updated 2019.
American Diabetes Association. Insulin & other injectables. Updated 2019.