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Interval between insulin injection and meal in relation to glycated haemoglobin

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Philip Home


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People who use an insulin regimen with pre-meal short-acting human insulin are usually recommended to inject insulin 20-40 min before the meal. It is a widespread impression, however, that most-insulin-treated diabetic patients do not follow such recommendations and inject their pre-meal insulin preparation with an interval shorter than advised. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the timing of pre-meal injections, and to assess any relationship of the timing of pre-meal insulin to overall blood glucose control, together with effects of age, sex, type and duration of diabetes. We studied 179 insulin-treated diabetic patients, advised in accordance with local protocols to take their premeal insulin injections 20 min or more before meals, using a short exploratory questionnaire. Patients answered one question about the timing of their pre-meal insulin injection in relation to each main meal. In addition, physicians provided information on the patient's medical and diabetes history and blood glucose control from the medical records. Twenty-seven per cent of patients reported having their pre-meal insulin injection 0-5 min before meals, and 31% 6-10 min before meals. Twenty-four per cent reported an 11-20 min interval, and 18% reported following the recommendations and taking their insulin 20 min or more before meals. HbA1c did not differ with pre-meal injection interval. Age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and duration of diabetes had no effect on the injection-meal interval reported. In conclusion these results show that only a minority of insulin-treated patients follow the recommendations regarding the timing of pre-meal insulin injections. Blood glucose control as assessed by HbA1c is not obviously affected by the timing of pre-meal insulin injection in relation to meals. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ahmed ABE, Badgandi M, Home PD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Practical Diabetes International

Year: 2001

Volume: 18

Issue: 2

Pages: 51-56

Print publication date: 01/03/2001

Online publication date: 11/05/2001

ISSN (print): 1357-8170

ISSN (electronic): 1528-252X

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/pdi.126


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