Cancel
Nearby: Atlanta, GA 30308

Access Your Account

New to Healthgrades?

Join for free!

Or, sign in directly with Healthgrades:

Doctors and their Administrators:
Sign Up or Log In

Finding the Right Mealtime Insulin

By

Amy Rushlow

Was this helpful? (0)
This content is selected and managed by the Healthgrades editorial staff and is brought to you by an advertising sponsor.
x

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the HealthGrades advertising policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

4 Secrets to Avoid Diabetes Burnout

It's tough to keep up with a diabetes treatment plan. But shaking things up can keep you focused.
happy family

If your doctor has suggested you take insulin before meals, you now have more treatment options for your diabetes than ever before. So how do you decide? Your lifestyle, diabetes type, age, and how your body reacts to treatment will determine the right type of insulin for you.


Which Mealtime Insulin Is Best?

There are two main categories of mealtime insulin. Some people take background insulin once or twice a day and rapid-acting insulin at one or more mealtimes. Other people use premixed insulin, which combines rapid-acting insulin and a longer-lasting insulin into one medication.

Background plus mealtime insulin may be best for you if:

  • You are able and willing to give yourself shots before meals. With mealtime insulin, you may have to inject yourself two to five times a day.

  • You’re OK with carrying insulin with you and checking your blood sugar several times a day

  • You have an irregular schedule or diet. Mealtime insulin allows you to adjust your dose depending on how many carbohydrates you eat.

  • You eat only one major meal each day

Premixed insulin may be a better fit for you if:

  • You have a low risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Premixed insulin can make blood sugar drop too low in some people.

  • You find it hard to give yourself multiple shots during the day. Some people find it difficult to give injections at work or school.

  • You regularly eat three daily meals, usually at the same times each day. If you don’t eat regular meals while taking premixed insulin, your blood sugar may get too low.

  • You’re looking to save money on your medications. You pay only one copay with premixed insulin, compared to two copays with background plus mealtime insulin.

Injection-Free Options

About 20% of people prescribed insulin injections regularly miss doses, according to a study in  Diabetes Care. It can be difficult to fit injections into your daily life. Fortunately, you have alternatives.

An insulin pump delivers insulin through a small tube connected to a needle that is taped in place. The computer in the device controls the dose of insulin you receive. A pump can deliver a steady dose of background insulin. You can also give yourself mealtime insulin using an insulin pump.

Some insulin pumps help you calculate the amount of insulin you need before a meal. One study found that this method is more accurate than calculating a dose on your own.

The FDA also recently approved an inhalable fast-acting mealtime insulin, called insulin human (Afrezza). Studies show that it improves long-term blood sugar control. You shouldn’t take it if you smoke or have a chronic lung disease, such as asthma.

Work with your doctor to determine which type of insulin is right for you. Be open about your lifestyle and how likely you are to follow the treatment regimen he or she suggests.

Key Takeaways

  • Background plus mealtime insulin may be best if you’re willing to give yourself shots before meals, can check your blood sugar several times a day, and have an irregular schedule or diet.

  • Premixed insulin may be a better fit if you have a low risk of hypoglycemia, you find it hard to give yourself multiple shots during the day, and you regularly eat three daily meals, usually at the same times each day.

  • It can be difficult to fit injections into your daily life, but there are alternatives, such as insulin pumps and inhalable insulin.

Was this helpful? (0)
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Dec 22, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Is the mealtime insulin approach working? Endocrine Society, Accessed November 27, 2014 (http://www.accurateinsulin.org/for-doctors/is-the-mealtime-insulin-approach-working)
  2. Is mealtime insulin right for me? Endocrine Society, Accessed November 27, 2014 (http://www.accurateinsulin.org/for-patients/is-mealtime-insulin-right-for-me)
  3. Insulin pumps, American Diabetes Association, Accessed November 27, 2014 (http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-pumps.htm...)
  4. FDA approves Afrezza to treat diabetes. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Accessed November 27, 2014 (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm403122.htm)
  5. Fact sheet: diabetes and insulin, Endocrine Society, Accessed November 27, 2014 (http://www.hormone.org/questions-and-answers/2012/diabetes-and-insulin)
  6. Sussman A, Taylor EJ, Patel M, et al. Performance of a glucose meter with built-in automated bolus calculator versus manual bolus calculation in insulin-using subjects. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2012;6(2):339-44.
  7. Peyrot M, Rubin RR, Kruger DF, et al. Correlates of insulin injection omission. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(2):240-5. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809256)

Your opinion matters!



Please fill out this short, 1-3 minute survey about Eating with Diabetes. Your answers are anonymous and will not be linked to you personally.

The survey will appear at the end of your visit.

Thank you!

A survey will be presented to you after you finish viewing our Eating with Diabetes content.

You Might Also Like

Share via Email

PREVIOUS ARTICLE:

FAQs About Non-Insulin Injections

NEXT ARTICLE:

FAQs on Taking Insulin with Meals

Up Next

FAQs on Taking Insulin with Meals