How is insulin administered for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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The goal of treatment in type 1 DM is to provide insulin in as physiologic a manner as possible. Insulin replacement is accomplished by giving a basal insulin and a preprandial (premeal) insulin. The basal insulin is either long-acting (glargine or detemir) or intermediate-acting (NPH). The preprandial insulin is either rapid-acting (lispro, aspart, or glulisine) or short-acting (regular). Currently, NPH insulin is being used less frequently, whereas insulin glargine and insulin detemir are being used more frequently.

For patients on intensive insulin regimens (multiple daily injections or insulin pumps), the preprandial dose is based on the carbohydrate content of the meal (the carbohydrate ratio) plus a correction dose if their blood glucose level is elevated (eg, an additional 2 U of rapid-acting insulin to correct the blood glucose from a level of 200 mg/dL to a target of 100 mg/dL). This method allows patients more flexibility in caloric intake and activity, but it requires more blood glucose monitoring and closer attention to the control of their diabetes.

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