As with all people with diabetes and each type of insulin, your own mileage may vary (YMMV), so the only way to know for sure is to try it. Certainly, you should at least tell your doctor about your plans or needs in this regard, but keep in mind that many docs will offer you some free samples of the same thing without regard to your long-term needs. Don’t feel like you need their permission: its YOUR body and YOU’RE the one paying the bills! I can share my own experience using Humalog, Novolog and Apidra relative to using Regular, and while I found that most were slightly faster, I did not find them dramatically faster – leading me to question the value of using an analog that costs almost twice as much money if insurance wasn’t paying it!
I wrote a response to another post which had a very similar question you may want to check out here (don’t worry, my links open in new windows). Be sure to check out the Diabetes Health article I noted there, because it basically gives you the science behind why smaller shots of insulin get absorbed faster, peak sooner, and are out of your system quicker. This is an important fact, because it means is that you can use regular insulin and get fairly quick action if the dosage size is smaller, therefore it may make sense if you’re going to dose for a meal and let’s say it requires a dosage of 12 units. Instead of one, you could split the dosage into 2 or even 3 tinier dosages of 6 or 4 units (depending on the total number of units) and see that insulin work much faster than if you gave a single dosage of 12 units. This, of course, is just an example but the point is a powerful tool you might consider in your decision. I generally try to split my dosages even with rapid-acting insulin analogs, and have found that it does work very well, but some people are needle-phobics (pens are convenient in this regard). Also, note that although there is not currently any generic insulin (see my article on that whole topic here), Wal-Mart sells a version of Novolin (including Novolin R and Novlin N) which retails for around $18 or so (I don’t recall the last time I checked the prices out), but compare that to Novolog which retails for about $70, and you see the huge price differential.
Finally, I would also suggest checking out what some of the subsequent research (I cited a 2007 study from Germany, but there have also been studies in Switzerland, the UK and Canada which have found the same thing) on the clinical trials for insulin analogs actually find, namely that the science does not prove that they deliver superior glycemic control. Among the most serious issues with the clinical trials for rapid-acting insulin analogs is that not a single one of the trials was blinded, which is considered the gold-standard of medical/scientific research. The lack of study blinding means there is a very real risk that patients in those trials, knowing the type of insulin they were using, might have behaved differently (such as by testing more frequently, for example) than they would normally, which would subsequently lead to unacceptable bias in the actual results of those trials. Science has proven unequivocally that if a patient with diabetes tests more often, they almost always have better glycemic control regardless of what type of insulin (or other drug) they use – therefore, the lack of study blinding in the trials for rapid-acting insulin analogs renders those results inapplicable to the diabetes population at large. In other words, one could argue successfully that the behavior change is what was responsible for the reduction in HbA1c, not necessarily the insulin analog that was being tested! YMMV!!