Starting insulin treatment as an outpatient. Report of 100 consecutive patients followed up for at least one year

JAMA. 1986 Aug 15;256(7):877-80. doi: 10.1001/jama.256.7.877.


Most textbooks advise that newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetics be admitted to the hospital. Nevertheless, if they are not acutely ill, we start insulin treatment on an outpatient basis. We report herein the logistics, efficacy, and safety of our system. Over two years, 115 newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetics were seen in our hospital. Fifteen (66% of them ketoacidotic) were admitted. The other 100 were treated as outpatients by a nurse specialist with a starting dosage of 6 to 10 units of intermediate-acting insulin twice daily. Hemoglobin A1 concentration at diagnosis was 15.2% +/- 2.7% (mean +/- SD); at six months, 10.9% +/- 2.9%; and at one year, 10.6% +/- 2.8%. Only three outpatient starters were hospitalized in the first year, one for hypoglycemia and two with respiratory tract infections. Our findings suggest that outpatient stabilization is both safe and cost-effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Self Care


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin