Memory Trick for Remembering Insulin Peak, Onset, and Duration

SimpleNursing Editorial Team Feb 5, 2018
Asian nurse injects a diabetic injection on a patient's stomach,Medical treatment.

Do you have difficulty pinpointing and memorizing the different types of insulin with their peak, onset, and duration? Here’s a nifty trick for you – we will show you how to effortlessly recall the peak, onset, and duration of the different types of insulin. 

Remember, the peak, onset, and duration of insulin is one of the most confusing topics in nursing pharmacology that many students and nurses are having trouble with. But here are easy techniques for you.

Regular Insulin Peak

First, we’ll tackle the different types of insulin, which are:

  1. Rapid-acting
  2. Short-acting
  3. Long-acting

Long-acting insulin does not have a peak. So you can totally smudge that one problem from your mind and just focus on the other types. Short-term acting insulin is between 4 to 12 hours for NPH, while rapid-acting is 30 to 90 minutes.

How can you quickly remember that?

First, remember that your rapid-acting is between 30 to 90 minutes. To recognize that short-acting is 4 to 12 hours, you have to multiply rapid-acting time by four to give you around 6 hours for the next dose of short-acting insulin.

An efficient way to remember short-term acting insulin (intermediate-acting insulin) is that they end in “-lin” like Humulin or Novolin. So think of these as short actresses with a height of 4”12’. In that way, you’ll easily point out that short actresses are 4”12’ tall, meaning the peak of short-acting insulin is between 4 – 12 hours.

Insulin Onset Peak Duration

For rapid-acting insulin, you just need to remember that onset is between 15 to 30 minutes, then it immediately peaks at 30 minutes until an hour and a half. 

Knowing the onset of rapid-acting will immediately prompt you that anything above 30 minutes is your short-term acting insulin. 

So, the onset of short-term acting insulin is from 30 to 60 minutes and because they are short actresses, they will peak at 4 to 12 hours

If you are able to keep that in mind, it’s easier for you to recall short-term acting insulin.

Insulin Peak Times: A Recap

Rapid-acting insulin has an onset of 15 to 30 minutes and peaks between 30 to 90 minutes. Some examples of this type of insulin are Humalog and NovoLog.

Short-acting insulin, which is also referred to as “short actresses with a height of 4”12’,” has an onset of 30 to 60 minutes and peaks between 4 to 12 hours. The majority of short-term acting insulin medications end in “-lin” like Humulin and Novolin.

Note: Insulin names of rapid-acting and short-term acting are almost similar it’s just that, it’s easier for you to identify short-acting insulin because of the “-lin” attached to the name.

Long-acting insulin does not have a peak, although its onset is from one hour until 24 hours.

Master Your Nursing Skills Here

Memorizing insulin peak times can be daunting, but it’s a crucial skill that can greatly impact patient care and outcomes. 

SimpleNursing is designed specifically for nursing students, offering a comprehensive platform encompassing a wide range of nursing topics.

We provide an engaging and efficient way to reinforce your knowledge and memorize key nursing information. Whether you prefer studying on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, this user-friendly tool allows you to access crucial information anytime, anywhere.

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