The nuts and bolts of subcutaneous insulin therapy in non-critical care hospital settings

Postgrad Med. 2010 Jan;122(1):153-62. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2010.01.2109.


In non-critical care settings, patients with hyperglycemia experience increased morbidity and mortality. Despite an increased recognition of the importance of treating inpatient hyperglycemia, many patients are still not adequately controlled. Insulin offers flexibility to address varying glucose levels and therefore is the preferred therapy to achieve recommended targets and manage hyperglycemia. Traditional sliding-scale insulin regimens often ineffectively control blood glucose levels as they are unable to mimic physiologic insulin secretion. Basal-bolus insulin regimens are recognized as a more effective way to correct hyperglycemia in non-critical care settings and a systematic glycemic control program is necessary to address hyperglycemia while minimizing hypoglycemia. Critical components of these programs include addressing barriers to glycemic control, understanding varying needs of different types of patients, and developing standardized subcutaneous insulin orders to achieve target glucose levels. This article provides strategies for using insulin in non-critical care settings to facilitate glycemic control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / drug effects
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Infusions, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • United States


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin