The progressive nature of type 2 diabetes makes insulin initiation a necessary therapeutic step for many patients. Premixed insulin formulations containing both basal and prandial insulin (so called biphasic insulin) are often prescribed because they are superior to long- or intermediate-acting insulin in obtaining good metabolic control. In addition, they are considered as an attractive alternative to classical basal-bolus therapy as fewer daily injections are required. Premixed insulin formulations include conventional (e.g. biphasic human insulin 70/30, or 30/70 in European countries, BHI 30) and newer premixed human analogues (e.g. biphasic insulin aspart 70/30, or 30/70 in Europe, BIAsp 30; insulin lispro mix 75/25-Mix 75/25, or Mix 25/75 in Europe). Like conventional premixed human insulin, premixed insulin analogues contain a fixed proportion of soluble, rapid-acting insulin analogue, with protaminated analogue comprising the remainder. Unlike conventional premixes, analogue premixes have more physiological pharmacokinetic and therapeutically more desirable pharmacodynamic profiles than premixed human insulin. Consequently, postprandial glycaemic control is better with premixed insulin analogues than with premixed human insulin. In nontreat-to-target registration trials, the lowering of haemoglobin A(1c) with premixed insulin analogues was not inferior to that seen with premixed human insulin. Minor hypoglycaemia was similar for premixed analogue and premixed human insulins, while major hypoglycaemia appears to be rare with either formulation. The occurrence of adverse events, other than hypoglycaemia, was also similar between various premix insulins. The premixed insulin analogues, BIAsp 30 and Mix 75/25, like the fast-acting analogues from which they are derived, also allow flexible injection timing, relative to meal timing, thus improving adherence, compliance and quality of life compared with premixed human insulin. Overall, the evidence suggests that premixed insulin analogues are cost effective and have useful advantages over premixed human insulin for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.