Intensification of insulin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: an algorithm for basal-bolus therapy

Ann Med. 2012 Dec;44(8):836-46. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2012.699715. Epub 2012 Jul 23.


The incidence of diabetes mellitus is projected to continue to increase worldwide over the next 20 years leading to increased costs in the management of the disease and its associated co-morbidities. Insulin replacement is one of many treatment options that can help to bring about near normoglycemia in the patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Glycemic control as close to normoglycemia as possible can help to reduce the risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications, yet less than one-half of patients with T2DM achieve glycemic targets as recommended by practice guidelines. The purpose of this review is to provide guidance to primary care physicians for the initiation and intensification of basal-bolus insulin therapy in patients with T2DM. Two treatment algorithms that can be both patient- and physician-driven are proposed: a stepwise approach and a multiple daily injections approach. Evidence shaping the two approaches will be discussed alongside management issues that surround the patient treated with insulin: hypoglycemia, weight gain, patient education, and quality of life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Primary Health Care
  • Weight Gain


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin