Insulin Administration

  1. American Diabetes Association

    Insulin is necessary for normal carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. People with type 1 diabetes mellitus do not produce enough of this hormone to sustain life and therefore depend on exogenous insulin for survival. In contrast, individuals with type 2 diabetes are not dependent on exogenous insulin for survival. However, over time, many of these individuals will show decreased insulin production, therefore requiring supplemental insulin for adequate blood glucose control, especially during times of stress or illness.

    An insulin regimen is often required in the treatment of gestational diabetes and diabetes associated with certain conditions or syndromes (e.g., pancreatic diseases, drug- or chemical-induced diabetes, endocrinopathies, insulin-receptor disorders, certain genetic syndromes). In all instances of insulin use, the insulin dosage must be individualized and balanced with medical nutrition therapy and exercise.

    This position statement addresses issues regarding the use of conventional insulin administration (i.e., via syringe or pen with needle and cartridge) in the self-care of the individual with diabetes. It does not address the use of insulin pumps. (See the American Diabetes Association’s position statement “Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion” for further discussion on this subject.)


    Insulin is obtained from pork pancreas or is made chemically identical to human insulin by recombinant DNA technology or chemical modification of pork insulin. Insulin analogs have been developed by modifying the amino acid sequence of the insulin molecule.

    Insulin is available in rapid-, short-, intermediate-, and long-acting types that may be injected separately or mixed in the same syringe. Rapid-acting insulin analogs (insulin lispro and insulin aspart) are available, and other analogs are in development. Regular is a short-acting insulin. Intermediate-acting insulins include lente and NPH. Ultralente and insulin glargine are long-acting insulins. Insulin preparations with a predetermined proportion of intermediate-acting insulin mixed with short- or rapid-acting insulin (e.g., 70% NPH/30% regular, 50% NPH/50% …

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    1. doi: 10.2337/diacare.25.2007.S112 Diabetes Care vol. 25 no. suppl 1 s112-s115