Options for the intensification of insulin therapy when basal insulin is not enough in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2008 Jul;10 Suppl 2:76-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2008.00846.x.


In the early treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the addition of a basal insulin, such as insulin glargine, to existing oral therapy can help patients attain recommended glycaemic control targets, including haemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) <7% and fasting blood glucose <5.5 mmol/l (<100 mg/dl). For patients close to but not at target, the management of postprandial glucose excursions with a rapid-acting insulin, such as insulin glulisine, can provide further improvements in glycaemic control. In this review, the options for intensifying insulin therapy with the addition of one or more daily doses of prandial insulin are discussed. In addition, the advantages/disadvantages of choosing a basal-bolus vs. a premixed insulin strategy are discussed. A conceptually simple approach for the treatment of T2DM is for optimization of the basal insulin dose (added to oral antidiabetic drugs) to target fasting glycaemia followed by the addition of a single prandial dose of rapid-acting insulin to target the largest glucose excursion. A second and third dose of prandial insulin can then be added if HbA(1c) remains above target and to manage postprandial glucose excursions at other meals. Prospective studies are underway to further examine this concept and determine the benefit of this approach not only on overall glycaemic control but also on cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Postprandial Period
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Insulin Glargine
  • insulin glulisine