6 Ways to Take Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Chris Illiades, MD on December 26, 2021
  • Doctor Talking to Man in Office
    A Closer Look at Insulin Delivery Options
    In type 2 diabetes, the body gradually loses its ability to respond or make natural insulin. Your treatment will likely start with lifestyle changes and medication. At some point, your doctor may add insulin to keep your blood sugar under control. There are various forms of insulin and different ways to take it. Your doctor will help you find the best type for you. Here are six options for you and your doctor to consider.
  • Loading insulin
    1. Needle and Syringe
    Most people take insulin by drawing it up into a syringe, reading the dose, and injecting it into the fat beneath their skin. This is a simple method. But, it takes manual dexterity to draw up insulin and good vision to read the syringe accurately. You also have to be comfortable giving yourself injections. You can get a pre-mixed syringe if you struggle with drawing and reading. If you are not comfortable with injecting, there may be other options.
  • Insulin injection
    2. Insulin Pen
    Insulin pens make injecting insulin much easier. You just need to learn how to inject just under your skin, avoiding muscle. Many types of insulin are available in these pens and there are lots of options. For instance, some types of insulin pens are reusable. Others are disposable. Some pens have a memory function that records your dose and time. Your doctor can help you find the best one for you.
  • Injection, doctor administering injection to patient's arm
    3. Needle-Free Jet Injection
    If you have a needle phobia, a jet injection might be right for you. A needle-free jet injector is similar to a pen. It is preloaded with insulin, and you can get reusable or disposable ones. You just press this device to your skin. The main advantage is there's no needle—a stream of insulin passes through your skin by pressure. This system may also be more efficient than a pen in delivering insulin. Ask your doctor if this system could meet your insulin needs.
  • Insulin Pump With Tubing
    4. Insulin Pumps
    An insulin pump is a device about the size of a deck of cards that you usually wear on your belt. It contains insulin and a tube delivers the insulin to a tiny canula inserted below your skin. The pump continually infuses insulin through this infusion set. The advantages are no daily injections and better glucose control. However, it may take a day at the hospital to learn how to remove, replace, and program the pump and infusion set. A pump may also be the most expensive option.
  • Insertion system of the infusion set
    5. Injection Port
    An injection port is an infusion set without a pump or tube. You insert the infusion set, which can stay in place for several days. The advantage is you don’t need to inject yourself every day. The disadvantage is you do need to change the port. You can use an injection port for many types of insulin. This may be a good option if your insulin dosage requires several injections every day.
  • Doctor talking with patient
    6. Inhaled Insulin
    Inhaled insulin is a rapid-acting insulin you breathe into your lungs as a puff at the beginning of a meal. The inhaler is reusable, but you need to change the cartridge about every two weeks. Research shows this type of insulin is safe and effective. There's one disadvantage—if you also need a long-acting insulin, you will need to take that insulin using one of the other options.
6 Ways to Take Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes

About The Author

  1. Medication.  American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/
  2. Insulin Basics. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-basics.ht...
  3. Managing Diabetes. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes
  4. Insulin Pens. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2015/mar-apr/insulin-pens.html
  5. How Do Insulin Pumps Work? American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/how-do-insulin-pu...
  6. Advantages of Using an Insulin Pump. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/advantages-of-usi...
  7. Disadvantages of Using an Insulin Pump. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/disadvantages-of-...
  8. I-Port Injection Port. Diabetes.co.uk. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetic-products/iport-injection-port.html
  9. Brashier DBS, Khadka A, Anantharamu T, et al. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. Inhaled insulin: A “puff” than a “shot” before meals. 2015 Jul-Sep;6(3):126–129.  
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Dec 26
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.