Should glucose be administered before, with, or after insulin, in the management of hyperkalemia?

Ren Fail. 1993;15(1):73-6. doi: 10.3109/08860229309065576.


To assess the hypokalemic effect of intravenous glucose (25 g i.v. in 5 min) followed by regular insulin (10 U) bolus, as well as the incidence of hypoglycemia, a well-known side effect of this intervention, nine uremic patients on maintenance hemodialysis were studied. Measurements were done of plasma potassium, glucose, insulin, and C-peptide before, and 15, 30, 45, and 60 min after glucose and insulin. The intervention induced a significant fall in plasma potassium level, a significant rise and then fall in plasma glucose, and a significant increase in the insulin and C-peptide levels. These data suggest that hypertonic glucose infusion should precede, not follow, the insulin bolus in the management of hyperkalemia. Such an approach is clinically effective and well tolerated, with no hypoglycemic side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Glucose Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage*
  • Glucose Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / complications
  • Hyperkalemia / drug therapy*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Uremia / complications*
  • Uremia / therapy


  • Glucose Solution, Hypertonic
  • Insulin