Why do you mix clear insulin with cloudy insulin?


Quick Answer

Under a physician's instructions, clear insulin and cloudy insulin are mixed because one works quickly in the system, while the effects of the other last much longer, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Therefore, a person with diabetes has the advantages of both medicines with just one injection.

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Full Answer

Typically, each insulin to be combined has a different appearance, UPMC observes. Rapid-acting or short-acting insulin is clear, while an intermediate-acting one is cloudy, explains HealthlinkBC.

The effects of rapid-acting insulin show up within 10 to 15 minutes, the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse states. Depending upon the brand, it peaks within one to two hours and lasts three to five hours. Short-acting insulin begins working within 30 to 60 minutes, hitting its high point within two to four hours. Its effects are over after five to eight hours. The onset of intermediate-acting insulin is one to three hours, and it spikes at eight hours. This form of insulin lasts 12 to 16 hours.

Though some clear and cloudy insulins are mixable, certain ones, such as Lantus or Levemir, are not, advises UPMC. Therefore, patients with diabetes should receive specific instructions for mixing from a doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator. Patients must use a very precise process to incorporate the insulins into one syringe. This involves forcing air into each insulin vial to equalize pressure, as well as drawing in the clear insulin first, WebMD instructs.

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