Ultra-Rapid-Acting Insulins: How Fast Is Really Needed?

Objective.To review the new ultra-rapid-acting insulin analogs and describe the benefits and limitations compared with other bolus insulins.Summary.The options for bolus insulins, which are usually taken at mealtime or for correction of hyperglycemia, are expanding, with recent approvals of faster-acting insulin aspart and insulin lispro-aabc. These new-generation insulins contain additives that enhance absorption and accelerate onset of action. Clinical studies demonstrate that, although these insulins are faster acting, their efficacy for A1C lowering and safety in terms of hypoglycemia risk are similar to those of other available bolus insulin options such as rapid-acting insulin analogs. However, their use resulted in significant reductions in 1- and 2-hour postprandial glucose levels.Conclusion.Novel ultra-rapid-acting insulins provide additional bolus insulin options, and their quick onset of action provides additional dosing flexibility for people with diabetes. Given their comparable efficacy and safety compared to other quick-acting insulins, health care providers should engage in shared decision-making with patients and their caregivers regarding possible use of ultra-rapid-acting insulin, taking into account their preferences, individualized considerations, and insurance formulary coverage. These new insulin formulations may be a suitable option for people with diabetes who are not able to achieve postprandial glycemic targets with other bolus insulins.