Insulin prescriptions available online

If you need to manage your type 1 or type 2 diabetes with insulin. book an appointment with one of our board-certified primary care doctors online. Get a new prescription for insulin or refill an existing insulin prescription today, if appropriate.*

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Treats diabetes, type 1 and 2

Fast-acting, intermediate, and long-acting options

Manages blood sugar levels effectively

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Plushcare physicians are not endocrinologists. Many times, long term management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is safest with a specialist in-person. Discuss this & more with our physicians. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how you can save up to 80% with our prescription discount card.

About insulin

Insulin is the hormone we all make that regulates blood sugar. In diabetes, our bodies either do not produce insulin (type 1) or become resistant to our body’s levels of insulin (type 2). Injected insulin is necessary to treat type 1 (T1DM) and may be needed to treat type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but they’re also used for other conditions. There are 3 main types of prescription insulin.   

Insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in your pancreas. It takes glucose from carbohydrates consumed and converts it to the energy that your body uses right away or stores for later use.

It helps stabilize your blood sugar levels and keeps them from going too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia).

Even though your body needs sugar for energy, the sugar usually can’t get into your cells directly. You need insulin to signal cells to soak up the sugar from your bloodstream. This process allows the sugar to enter your cells and be used for energy.

If your body absorbs more sugar than it needs, this hormone will signal it to be stored in your muscles and liver and ready for release if your blood sugar levels get too low. In other words, it helps your body balance your blood sugar levels and keeps them within normal range.

If your body can’t produce enough of this hormone, cells become resistant to how it should normally work, you can develop hyperglycemia. This can cause complications like diabetes if your blood sugar levels stay too high for too long.

What insulin treats

The most common condition treated with human insulin is diabetes. The drugs are designed to replace or supplement the body’s natural hormones.

These medicines allow blood glucose to enter cells and enable the body to store blood sugar more adequately for later use. This helps address a significant problem in people with diabetes mellitus: high blood sugar.

Other conditions are also treated with this therapy. Mild-to-moderate diabetic ketoacidosis, for example, may need management with this approach. Learn more about this and other off-label uses of this therapy below.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes. It is most common in people with T1DM, but people with T2DM can also develop it. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body doesn’t have sufficient amounts of insulin to encourage blood sugar into the cells for use as energy.

The injections can reverse ketoacidosis and are essential for successfully managing this complication. In this case, the hormone promotes glucose use by peripheral tissues and helps your body regulate energy use back to a safe level.

Gestational diabetes mellitus

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition wherein a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using insulin properly. It develops during pregnancy. Instead of being absorbed by the cells, glucose accumulates in the blood.

What makes GDM different than T1DM is that it’s not the lack of the hormone that causes the problem but other hormones that decrease its effectiveness. Some, but not all, pregnant women need human insulin to treat GDM. The role of this therapy is to lower blood sugar levels.

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state affects people with T2DM whose blood sugar levels are severe or abnormally high (sometimes over 40mmol/l). This state may develop over a few weeks or result from other problems, such as dehydration. It requires emergency medical service, i.e., immediate help.

This therapy can help with the mild-to-moderate hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state. The first line of treatment in the emergency room is aggressive fluid management, after which patients receive insulin to help lower blood sugar.

Types of insulin available online

The three main types of insulin therapies are fast-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting.

  • Fast-acting insulin

    Fast-acting insulin is most often used to treat high blood sugar in people with T1DM and T2DM. These medicaments start to work shortly after being injected. They are usually taken before a meal.

    Fast-acting insulins can be combined with other types of these therapies, such as intermediate-acting kinds, to manage diabetes.

    Examples of fast-acting insulin include:

    • Novolin R (Regular Insulin): made by Novo Nordisk, this therapy is not available in generic form. It is also available in over-the-counter form as an affordable insulin. This short-acting medicament may be combined with long-acting type.

    • NovoLog (Insulin Aspart): manufactured by Novo Nordisk, this fast-acting structure helps adults and children with T1DM and T2DM alike.

    • Humalog (Insulin Lispro): developed by Lilly diabetes solution center, this fast-acting form works quickly to lower blood sugar.

    • Humulin R (Human Recombinant): a Lilly insulin, this fast-acting type helps treat people with T1DM and T2DM as well as gestational diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.

    • Apidra (Insulin Glulisine): this form helps regulate blood sugar levels around meal times

  • Intermediate-acting insulin

    Intermediate-acting insulins are often used to control high blood sugar in patients withT1DM and T2DM. It is used overnight or for half day of insulin.

    Examples of intermediate-acting insulin include:

    • Humulin N (Human Recombinant): this intermediate-acting type acts slower and lasts longer than its short-acting counterpart.

    • Novolin N (NPH Insulin): created by Novo Nordisk, this intermediate-acting therapy replicates the function of naturally produced hormone to stimulate a person’s organs and tissue to take in more sugar from the bloodstream.

  • Long-acting insulin

    Examples of long-acting insulins include:

    • Lantus (Insulin Glargine): this long-acting type leads to the formation of microprecipitates, where constant levels of artificial hormone are released steadily.

    • Soliqua (Insulin): among multiple Sanofi insulins, this combination of long-acting human type analog with glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist is recommended mainly for people with T2DM.

    • Basaglar (Insulin Glargine): made by Lilly Insulins, this long-acting basal type starts working several hours after injection and functions evenly for 24 hours.

    • Levemir (Insulin Detemir): developed by Novo Nordisk, this is a long-acting type for glycemic management. Like other long-acting types, it is effective for 24 hours.

    • Toujeo (Insulin Glargine): this long-acting type is similar to Lantus, but it is more concentrated. It’s only available as a brand-name medication.

    • Tresiba (Insulin Degludec): this is a long-acting type that you need to inject once a day, preferably at the same time every day for better glycemic control.

How insulin works

  • Side effects of insulin

    When taken as recommended, analog insulins are generally well tolerated. However, they can still cause some side effects.

    The more common side effects of insulin include:

    • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

    • Leg swelling

    • High blood pressure

    • Weight gain

    • Injection site reactions (redness, itching, swelling)

    • Lipodystrophy (skin changes at the injection point)

    • Anxiety or depression

    In rare cases, insulin may cause serious side effects. These can include:

    • Severe hypoglycemia

    • Hypokalemia (low blood potassium)

    • Serious allergic reaction

    • Swelling of hands and feet

    • Heart failure

    • Eye complications

  • Insulin risks

    These therapies are generally safe, but there are some risks if you have other medical conditions or take certain prescription pills.

    Before you take prescription insulin, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following conditions or issues:

    • Liver disease

    • Kidney disease

    • Thyroid problems

    • Excessive alcohol consumption and alcoholism

    • Adrenal/pituitary gland problems

  • Insulin drug interactions 

    When you begin a new medication, tell your healthcare provider about any other medicaments, supplements, or herbs you take. Insulin does interact with other medications so ensure you discuss all of them with your doctor prior to starting. 

Insulin FAQs

  • How should I take insulin? 

    Because you can't take the therapy orally, it must be injected under the skin (subcutaneously) with a syringe, pump, or insulin pen.

    The type of injection method you get prescription for will depend on your personal preference, your health status, and the type of insurance you have.

    Before you start taking the therapy, your healthcare provider or a diabetes educator will teach you how to administer the injection on yourself or a loved one. You'll also learn how much insulin you need.

    Parts of the body that you can inject include:

    • Upper arm

    • Abdomen

    • Thigh

    • Buttocks

    Some people only need to inject themselves once a day. Others will need to inject themselves several times a day and take other diabetes medication such as Metformin. Your doctor will work with you to determine the right amount (units) of insulin required and whether you need rapid-acting, long-acting, or both. Most people need two up to three vials per month for optimal diabetes care. You can change the site location of your injection each time in order to prevent thickening of your skin, bruising or local infection.

    Be careful not to inject it within two inches of your belly button. Your body won’t absorb it as well at this location.

  • Who shouldn’t take insulin?

    People with low blood sugar, liver problems, decreased kidney function, and low amounts of potassium in the blood shouldn’t take this therapy unless your doctor clear you to do so. So, if you have these health problems, make sure to inform your doctor about them. They will determine whether it’s safe to take and buy insulin and make the best recommendation for your condition.

  • How long does it take for insulin to work?

    This depends on the type of therapy. For instance, rapid-acting insulins start working within 15 to 30 minutes after the injection, and its effects peak within 60 minutes while their length lasts two to four hours.

    On the other hand, regular- or short-acting insulins takes 30 minutes to work but its effects last longer around three to six hours. The effects peak within two to three hours, however.

    When it comes to intermediate-acting insulins, it takes around four hours to work, the effects peak in four to 12 hours whereas the duration is 12 to 18 hours. Long-acting insulins starts working within two hours and its duration is 24 hours, while ultra-long type starts working within six hours and its effects last 36 hours or longer.

  • What should I avoid with insulin?

    When taking this therapy you should avoid injecting it in the same exact place every time. Doing so could lead to lipodystrophy, which is the breakdown of fat under the skin, or the formation of lumps and indentations that obstruct the absorption of this hormone. For that reason, it is necessary to rotate injection sites, as many insulin manufacturers advise.

    Additionally, avoid injecting it too deeply. Otherwise, it could enter the muscle, and the body could absorb it too quickly. Avoid waiting more than 15 minutes to eat after taking mealtime therapy.

    Also, you should avoid an unhealthy diet, especially refined carbs. And most importantly, it is necessary to avoid taking it with certain medications to avoid interactions. It may interact with other antidiabetics, antidepressants, anti-hypertensive medications, some pain relievers, therapies for cholesterol, somatostatin analogs, certain antiviral medications, some antibiotics, and others.

    If you’re taking medications with which this therapy interacts, make sure to inform the healthcare provider beforehand.

  • What does insulin do to blood sugar?

    This hormone helps blood sugar enter the cells, which then use it for energy. Plus, it sends a signal to the liver to store blood sugar for later use. When a person injects it, it helps move blood sugar out of the bloodstream into the cells. The cells use a portion of that sugar for energy, while the remainder is stored in the liver, muscles, and fat. As blood sugar moves to cells, its levels should return to normal.

  • Is insulin the same as sugar?

    It is not the same as sugar. Blood glucose (sugar) is the main sugar in your body. Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of pancreatic islets. The main function of this hormone is to regulate blood sugar. Since both play an important role in diabetes, it’s easy to assume they’re the same. However, they are different things with entirely different functions.

  • Does insulin require a prescription?

    Like other medications for the management of this lifelong condition, it requires a prescription. While insulin prices have increased over the years and vary based on the insurance coverage, you can enroll in savings program specifically created to help people get therapy they need with cost savings. You can also connect with diabetes community to share experiences and learn more about different prices, pharmacies, and even get useful tips for better quality of life.

  • How is insulin prescribed?

    A healthcare provider issues a prescription to a patient with T1DM or T2DM. Besides standard appointments at a doctor’s office in a hospital or clinic, patients can also access doctors from websites and online platforms. This makes the whole process a lot faster and you can buy insulin easier, especially for patients with a busy lifestyles.

  • What is the most common insulin prescribed?

    Healthcare providers usually first recommend basal therapy, i.e., intermediate-acting and/or long-acting forms. The greatest advantage of these types of insulins is that they help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day. The most common insulins in terms of strength in the United States are U-100, i.e., 100 units of the hormone per milliliter of fluid, according to the American Diabetes Association.

  • Are there other ways of injecting yourself beside a syringe?

    Yes. You can use an insulin pen. They usually have a cartridge filled with solution that you can insert into the pen and discard after all the medication has been used. The dose that you need can be dialed on the pen. The solution is injected through a needle, like a syringe.

    Another method of administration is through an insulin pump. These pumps help you manage your complicated condition by giving you this hormone 24 hours a day. This is done through a catheter which is placed under your skin. The pump allows you to control the number of hormones your body gets.

  • How do you monitor yourself when taking insulin?

    This therapy is a must for people with T1DM and also anyone with T2DM who require short acting insulin therapy around meals. It’s also strongly recommended for T2DM patients using intermediate or long acting insulin to ensure the amount they’re using is adequate to control their blood sugar.

    When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, a healthcare team will create an insulin program that will help keep your blood sugar levels normal, alongside a healthy diet and exercise plan.

    Many people with insulin-dependent diabetes usually start out by taking one to two injections per day and gradually go up to three or four injections per day if needed. They may take one or more types of insulin, depending on their blood sugar levels throughout the day.

    Keeping track of your blood sugar levels over time can help you understand how exercise, stress, or different types of food can affect your levels. You can use this data to predict how your body will react to the therapy and you will have a better chance of avoiding episodes of hyperglycemia (high sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). 

    There are a few factors that can affect how your blood sugar levels fluctuate, including: 

    • When and how much you exercise

    • The type of foods you eat & when you eat them

    • The injection site

    • Time of day and frequency of injections

    • Stress

    • Illness

3 simple steps to getting insulin online 

Step 1: Book an appointment

Step 1

Book an appointment to discuss insulin.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your doctor online.

See a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3: pick up at local pharmacy

Step 3

Pick up your insulin prescription from your online doctor.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Insulin pricing details

How pricing works

To get insulin online, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.