There are many types of insulin available in Singapore. The ones presented in this article represent what is presently registered and available in Singapore.

Insulin is administered by subcutaneous (just under the skin) injection. Insulin should only be used when prescribed by a doctor and dose adjustments should be supervised.

Types of insulin preparations

Insulin preparations can be categorised according to their time action profile: quick-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting. There are also pre-mixed insulins which contain a mixture of quick-acting and intermediate-acting insulin. Insulin preparations are available in vials, cartridges and disposable pens.

"It is important to ensure the correct dose of insulin is given and that the technique of administration is correct, since improper administration can lead to high and low glucose levels (hypoglycaemia). Low blood glucose levels may happen when there is a mismatch of carbohydrate intake to insulin, during exercise, after alcohol intake, or in relation to other medical conditions," say nurses from the Department of Specialty Nursing, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

The table below shows the types of insulin available in Singapore as well as:

  • Their onset of action (how quickly they start acting)
  • Their peak action (greatest glucose-lowering effect)
  • Duration of action (when it stops lowering glucose levels)

Quick-acting and short-acting insulin

Quick-acting and short-acting insulin

Intermediate-acting insulin

Intermediate-acting insulin

Long-acting insulin

Long-acting insulin

Pre-mixed insulin

Pre-mixed insulin

Ref: O17