Understanding Mealtime Insulin

Most people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes take mealtime insulin to control their diabetes.

As you may have already figured out, mealtime insulin is insulin taken with meals. Of course, take your dose as instructed by your health care team. Mealtime insulin is also known as fast-acting or bolus insulin. NovoLog® is a fast-acting mealtime insulin that is used in addition to a long-acting (basal) insulin. For many people with type 1 diabetes, NovoLog® is used in an insulin pump to provide both the necessary basal and bolus insulin coverage. Learn more about using NovoLog® in a pump by clicking here.

While long-acting basal insulin helps you control blood sugar between meals and during sleep, it may not be enough to help your body handle blood sugar spikes that happen after eating. 

That’s why your health care provider may have prescribed a mealtime insulin for you. It may give you the extra help you need to manage blood sugar spikes that happen when you eat. It works quickly to help control blood sugar at mealtime. 

Fast-acting insulin analogs go to work quickly. So, you will need to eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after taking NovoLog®

Managing your blood sugar with mealtime insulin can help lower your A1C (a measure of blood sugar control over 2 to 3 months) when taken with a long-acting insulin. And, if you need to add mealtime insulin to your diabetes care plan, you are not alone. In fact, in 1 study of people with type 2 diabetes, after 1 year of long-acting therapy, 8 out of 10 people were not at A1C goal of less than 6.5% and needed to add mealtime insulin to help them reach their target A1C goal. 

Remember, adding mealtime insulin doesn’t mean you did anything wrong in your diabetes care. It just means that you now need another medicine to help get to your A1C goal. 

If you need help talking with your doctor about adding NovoLog® mealtime insulin to your care plan, you can use our Doctor Discussion Guide to help organize your thoughts. 

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