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January 11, 2000

Insulin

Question from a nurse in Michigan, USA:

Can insulin be given IV push [intravenously, pushed into the vein by syringe]? I am a new nurse and this was a sliding scale order for one of my patients. The patient's blood sugar level was 234 and the sliding scale order was to give 2 units of R insulin IV push and 8 units R subcutaneously. The patient was 54 years old. My nursing drug book stated not to give concentrated insulin IV. Is this something new that physicians are beginning to prescribe?

Answer:

Regular insulin can be given as an IV push undiluted. The only reason to dilute it is to facilitate low dose continuous infusion if this is what is needed.

TGL