Type 1 diabetes completely damages the pancreas, an organ responsible for making insulin. For that reason, persons with type 1 diabetes cannot produce any insulin on their own. Every patient with type 1 diabetes depends on injections of insulin so that glucose can be used as energy in the body.

Two major types of insulin are used to treat patients with type 1 diabetes: rapid-acting or short- acting and long-acting insulin.

  How They Work When They’re Taken Examples
Long-Acting (“Basal”) Insulin
 Basal Insulin
  • Once or twice a day, depending on which type is prescribed (see examples).
Short-Acting and Rapid-Acting (“Bolus”) Insulin
Nutritional Insulin
  • Up to fifteen minutes before each meal (rapid-acting) or 30 minutes before each meal (short-acting). Short-acting insulin is most effective a few hours after it’s injected.
Correctional Insulin


Most patients with type 1 diabetes are treated with “intensive” or “basal-bolus” insulin therapy, which requires four injections a day. This method allows a great deal of flexibility with regards to the types of food patients eat, when they eat it, and how much they eat.

The usual treatment schedule is:

However, every individual treatment regimen is individualized; talk to your health care provider about the best regimen for you.

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