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Diabetes Prescription Insulin Medications (cont.)

Medical Editor:

How is the diabetes drug insulin administered?

Insulin must be injected. Most of the time this is done with a disposable fine needle and syringe.

People with diabetes generally rotate injection sites to prevent tissue injury and for the best insulin absorption. Insulin is absorbed most quickly when it is injected into the abdomen; the thighs and buttocks are other common injection sites. Some people with diabetes find it more convenient and comfortable to use newer insulin delivery systems, such as prefilled or cartridge pen insulin dispensers. While these eliminate the need to draw up insulin from a bottle, they may limit dosing flexibility. Still others benefit from use of insulin pumps, which deliver a continuous dose over 24 hours through an implanted catheter. Insulin pumps are more commonly used by people with type 1 diabetes.

How should the diabetes medication insulin be stored?

Insulin storage depends on when it will be used. Extra bottles should be kept in the refrigerator until ready for use, when they can be brought up to room temperature to make injections more comfortable. Insulin should never be frozen or stored in direct sunlight or where there might be excess heat, such as in a car.

How often should blood glucose be checked when taking insulin?

Just as insulin dosing is a highly individual thing, so, too, are recommendations for frequency of blood glucose testing at home. Doctors may advise testing first thing when you wake up before your first meal, before meals, or after meals. Diabetic people with a history of good relatively stable blood glucose levels might get by with less frequent testing.

Another way doctors monitor glucose control is by checking A1c. The A1c test gives information on the average blood glucose control over the past two to three months.


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