Insulin – Rapid Acting (Novolog, Humalog) Nursing Considerations

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Generic Name

Aspart, Lispro, Glulisine

Trade Name

Novolog, Humalog, Apidra


hyperglycemia with diabetes type 1 and 2, diabetic ketoacidosis


stimulates uptake of glucose into muscle and fat cells, inhibits production of glucose in the liver,
prevents breakdown of fat and protein

Route  Onset Peak Duration
Aspart 10-20 min 1-3 hr 3-5 hr
Glulisine 15 min 1 hr 2-4 hr
Lispro 15 min 1-1.5 hr 3-4 hr

Therapeutic Class

antidiabetics, hormones

Pharmacologic Class


Nursing Considerations

• assess for symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
• monitor body weight over time
• may cause decreased inorganic phosphates, potassium, and magnesium
• monitor blood sugars every 6 hours, monitor A1C every 3-6 months

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Okay guys, let’s talk about rapid-acting insulin. Also known as insulin Aspart, insulin Lispro and insulin Glulisine with brand names, NovoLog, and Humalog. This is an injectable medication, as you can see here. 

So remember the therapeutic class of a drug is how it works in the body while the pharmacologic class is the chemical effect. So for rapid-acting insulins, the therapeutic class is an anti-diabetic and also hormone. While the pharmacologic class is a pancreatic. So rapid-acting insulins work by stimulating the uptake of glucose into muscle in fat cells inhibiting the production of glucose in the liver and pre the breakdown of fats and protein. We use rapid-acting insulins for the treatment of hyperglycemia in type one and type two diabetes, and also for diabetic ketoacidosis. So with rapid-acting insulin, hyperglycemia is most definitely a side effect, which can include things like headache, nausea, drowsiness, sweating, confusion, and also because insulin is injected, it can cause redness and pain at the injection site. 

Let’s take a look at a few nursing considerations for rapid-acting insulin. It is that the patient is assessed for symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. While on insulin therapy, monitor the patient’s body weight over time. Rapid active insulin can cause decrease in organic phosphates, potassium and magnesium levels. So keep that in mind. And finally, the patient must understand that blood sugar needs to be monitored every six hours also with A1C being monitored every three to six months. So, guys, this is super important for rapid-acting insulin. It should never be given at bedtime unless the patient is eating a very large snack or meal directly before bed. This is because there have been instances where rapid-acting insulin was given or mistakenly administered at bedtime, and what happened is the patient into a hypoglycemic coma, and, in some instances, they’ve even died from this. That’s it for rapid-acting insulin, including insulin as Aspart, insulin Lispro, and insulin Glulisine or NovoLog or Humalog. Now go out and be your best self today. And as always happy nursing.

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