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June 14, 2004

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Galloway, New Jersey, USA:

A nurse practitioner, who predominately works with adult type 2s, offered advice to a friend whose young son has type 1. She suggested that "often insulin injections are given intramuscularly so the insulin gets in faster". I am not familiar with this advice for daily care. My daughter has had type 1 for three and a half years now, and is four years old. We have always given her shots subcutaneously in her thighs, belly, bottom, or arm. Which should we be doing?

Answer:

The correct rule is indeed to inject insulin always subcutaneously, remembering that absorption changes significantly depending on the site you choose. Thighs are generally quite poor for all insulins. The buttocks are fine for Lantus and NPH while belly and arm for preferred for preprandial fast acting insulins.

MS