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Diabetes

Prednisone and insulin

10/02/2008

Question:

Once insulin is started for a Type II diabetic who is on Prednisone for a hip injury - if the prednisone is stopped can the insulin be stopped as well? Thank you.

Answer:

I don't have enough information from what you have provided to answer that question.  If the sugars were extraordinarily well controlled before the prednisone and return to that level when prednisone is stopped and insulin interrupted, perhaps it could be.  However, often a person measures their sugars more carefully when there is some new event in their life like going on the steroids and the issue is really the high sugars are detected which might have been there before but weren't known about because of inadequate testing.  In that case, it might very well be that when the prednisone is discontinued, the blood sugars may remain high:  that situation might represent one in which insulin was needed all along but hadn't been started because there was not as careful attention to pick up the need.  Hence, it is hard to make a generalization in response to this question.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati