Intensive insulin treatment in diabetic children

Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2001 Oct;14(5):292-304.


Intensification of insulin therapy which maintains long-term near-normoglycaemia (HbA1c<7.0%) strongly protects against onset and/or progression of diabetic microangiopathy in Type 1 diabetes mellitus of adults. Similar intensification of insulin therapy is needed in diabetic children as well, in order to prevent complications a few years after diabetes onset, ie very often in young age. Provided adequate psychosocial support and education are available, children should be treated with multiple daily injections of insulin or, when necessary, with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, along with blood glucose monitoring. Insulin regimens may differ from child to child and vary from day to day in the same child, depending on lifestyle and considering all the available insulin preparations. These include the short-acting insulin (both human regular and short-acting insulin analogues), the intermediate-acting insulin (NPH and Lente), as well as the new long-acting insulin analogue glargine. The latter seems a promising candidate to substitute of basal insulin. The concern that intensified insulin therapy increases the risk of hypoglycaemia, as indicated by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), is no longer tenable. On the contrary, a physiological, flexible insulin regimen better than a fixed insulin regimen, usually the twice daily split-mixed regimen, protects against the risk of hypoglycaemia in relation to food ingestion, physical exercise and sleep. Thus, appropriate education should be delivered at diabetes onset to the child and parents in order to start the strategy of intensified insulin therapy as early as possible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Injections
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • Patient Education as Topic


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin