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Regular Insulin

Regular insulin is the standard form of insulin used to control blood sugar in people with diabetes. It is a short-acting insulin medication used to help control the blood sugar spikes that typically occur after meals. Regular insulin comes in injectable form and is usually injected just under the skin once or twice a day. Potential side effects include hypoglycemia and injection site skin reactions.

What Is Regular Insulin?

Regular insulin (Humulin® R, Novolin® R) is the most basic form of insulin used to treat diabetes. It is called "regular" insulin because it is identical to insulin made by the human body. It is a short-acting insulin used to help control the spike in blood sugar that occurs with meals. It is typically used in combination with a long-acting insulin. Regular insulin can also be used in an insulin pump, although newer, rapid-acting insulins are usually preferred for pump use.
U-100 regular insulin (the standard insulin concentration) is available without a prescription, while U-500 regular insulin (a concentrated version used in special situations) requires a prescription.
(Click What Is Regular Insulin Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses of regular insulin.)

Potential Side Effects of Regular Insulin

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with regular insulin. Possible side effects of regular insulin (as well as all other forms of insulin) include, but are not limited to:
  • A skin reaction at the injection site
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Thickening or pitting of the skin at the injection site.
(Click Side Effects of Regular Insulin to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
7 Signs of High Blood Sugar

Regular Insulin Information

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