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From Italy:

Having a two year old daughter with I type diabetes, I'd like to know the difference between the insulins "monotard" and "protaphane" in the duration of their action.

The terminology for the different types of insulin is confusing. There have been several names for each of the insulin products. And the exact duration of the insulin depends upon many factors; for example, the newer human insulins work a bit quicker and disappear a bit sooner than the previous animal-source insulin products.

Both Protaphane® and Monotard® insulin are intermediate-duration products which are manufactured by Novo Nordisk, and are very similar.

Monotard (also called Lente or L) contains zinc which acts to hold the insulin at the injection site for longer. According to the books, Monotard (Lente) acts between 2.5 and 24 hours, with maximal action at 7-15 hours.

Protaphane (also called NPH or N) acts between 1.5 and 24 hours but its maximal effect is between 4 and 12 hours -- so a little bit quicker.

In practice, insulins have to be tailored to individual patients and chopping and changing insulin is not usually a good idea. Speak to your diabetes doctor for more advice.


Original posting 13 Apr 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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