Insulin Treatment Tips

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Know which situations might require a change in dosage.

If you're sick or gain weight, you might need a higher insulin dose; if you exercise more or lose weight, you might need a lower one.

In this section, you will find:

These situations may require a change in insulin dosage algorithm:

Higher doses (basal and bolus) of insulin may be needed:

  • If you are sick, or have an infection
  • If you reduce your level of activity
  • If you gain weight
  • If you are prescribed a medicine that changes your insulin sensitivity (such as Prednisone)
  • If you are under emotional stress
  • During adolescence
  • During pregnancy

Lower doses (basal and bolus) of insulin may be needed:

  • If you become more active
  • If you lose weight
  • If you have problems with kidney function

Skills check list for successful insulin therapy:

Those with type 2 diabetes should periodically discuss their insulin regimen with their diabetes team. New kinds of insulin and delivery systems are always being developed that could change your dose and schedule.

Tips for Storing Insulin

  • Keep opened vials at room temperature.
  • Discard opened vials after one month.
  • Refrigerate unopened vials not in use between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit. The expiration date applies to unopened, refrigerated insulin.
  • For some pens and other dosing devices the storage life is less. Read the label.
  • Durable pens and dosing devices should NOT be refrigerated once in use.

General Notes On Medicine

It is very important to follow your insulin regimen. Do not miss any doses of insulin. Contact your doctor to discuss specific instructions in case you miss a dose of insulin.

Keep a record of all medicines and doses with you. Include non-prescription medicines, herbs, vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements. Share this list with all your health care providers, and if possible, bring all your medicine bottles to your visits.

Try to use only one pharmacy so the pharmacist has a record of all your medicines (to reduce risk of duplicating medicines and harmful drug interactions).

Learn about your medicines. Know the purpose of each medicine, and familiarize yourself with possible side effects. Know how to take each medicine, including the best time to take it and what to do if you miss a dose. Make sure you are storing your medicines correctly. Only take your medicines as prescribed. If you are taking a medicine differently, inform your doctor.

Self-assessment Quiz

Self assessment quizzes are available for topics covered in this website. To find out how much you have learned about Insulin Therapy, take our self assessment quiz when you have completed this section.  The quiz is multiple choice. Please choose the single best answer to each question. At the end of the quiz, your score will display. If your score is over 70% correct, you are doing very well. If your score is less than 70%, you can return to this section and review the information.

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