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Diabetes

Frequency of insulin injections

10/20/2008

Question:

How often is it safe to take an insulin injection? I test sevveral times a day and generally inject Humalog on a sliding scale and then Lantus at bedtime. But the glucose readings never seem to come down below 250. Is it safe to inject the Humalog more often than 4 times a day?

Answer:

The key issue is that insulin should be administered in the context of an overall plan - if the insulin regimen that you are using is not working, then perhaps you need the input from someone who can help you troubleshoot why it is not working - the specialists in diabetes include endocrinologists (physicians) and nurse, dietician and pharmacist certified diabetes educators.  My suggestion is that you need to address this with one of those people.  If you live in Ohio, the Netwellness referral system provides a directory that may be helpful.  There is no specific cut-off for the number of insulin injections per day that are given - the key is having a strategy to determine what the source of the high blood sugars may be, whether a medication change is the correct answer or whether an alteration in food intake, activity or a search for an unidentified problem that is making sugars worse is needed and if, for example, an insulin change is needed, whether to alter dose or frequency, the type of insulin or the timing in relationship to food or activity.

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Response by:

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