The use of insulin analogues is rapidly expanding. At present, there are two short-acting analogues available for practical use, insulin aspart and insulin lispro, and one long-acting analogue, insulin glargine. Another long-acting analogue, insulin detemir, is still under development. The time action profile of short-acting analogues is both much more rapid and shorter than that of human insulin; the prominent feature of the long-acting analogues is their peakfree and fairly constant action. Insulin analogues offer alternative options for the whole spectrum of insulin therapy in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. The perception by many patients is strikingly positive, in particular regarding the overall quality of life. In objective efficacy terms, however, the potential to improve the degree of metabolic control appears to be only minor, yet demonstrable, provided the analogues are used according to their specific time action profile. This ensured, analogues are instrumental in minimizing the side effects of insulin therapy, i.e. the risk of (nocturnal) hypoglycaemia or problems with body weight control. Although there are no indications of safety concerns with insulin analogues, the availability of long-term outcome data based upon observations in human patients would be very valuable.