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March 12, 2002

Insulin Analogs

Question from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom:

I am a 21 year old student who has had type 1 diabetes for about 12 years, and I am currently on two doses of NovoRapid and one dose of Novo M2 (?). Recently, my doctor has begun to mention insulin analogs. How can I find more information? Can explain what they are?

Answer:

The new short-acting analogs, Humalog and NovoRapid, have a much more rapid action than Regular short-acting insulin (such as Actrapid and Humulin R). You can inject them just prior to a meal and still get a good insulin effect at the time when the glucose from the foods reaches the bloodstream. However, the insulin effect might wane too quickly causing the blood sugar to rise before the next meal. The faster action of analogs is due to a change in the molecules of insulins that makes them dissolve much faster where they’re injected and thus making the time of action much faster.

There’s also a new long-acting analog, Lantus (insulin glargine) to meet your basal needs.

MS

[Editor’s comment: You’re already on an insulin analog: NovoRapid. Technically, insulin analogs are molecules of insulin that have specific substitutions of different amino acids for the usual ones at some point (or several places) on the usual insulin molecule. There are three on the market already (mentioned above), and more in development.

WWQ]