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Hosp Pract (1995). 2014 Apr;42(2):23-30. doi: 10.3810/hp.2014.04.1100.

Insulin requirements in non-critically ill hospitalized patients with diabetes and steroid-induced hyperglycemia.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.



Steroid-induced hyperglycemia is common in hospitalized patients with diabetes mellitus. Guidelines for glucose management in this setting are lacking.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of non-critically ill patients with diabetes receiving steroids, hospitalized from January 2009 to October 2012. Fifty-eight patients were identified from 247 consults. Multivariable linear regression was used to assess median daily insulin requirements of normoglycemic patients compared with hyperglycemic patients.


Of the 58 total patients included in our study, 20 achieved normoglycemia during admission (patient-day weighted mean blood glucose [PDWMBG] level = 154 ± 16 mg/dL) and 38 remained hyperglycemic (PDWMBG level = 243 ± 39 mg/dL; P < 0.001). There were no differences between the 2 patient groups in age, sex, race, body weight, renal function, HbA1c level, glucose-altering medications, diabetes type, or disease duration. Following multivariable adjustment, compared with hyperglycemic patients, normoglycemic patients required similar units of basal insulin (median interquartile range [IQR])(23.6 [17.9, 31.2] vs 20.1 [16.5, 24.4]; P = 0.35); higher units of nutritional insulin (45.5 [34.2, 60.4] vs 20.1 [16.4, 24.5]; P < 0.001]; and lower units of correctional insulin (5.8 [4.1, 8.1] vs 13.0 [10.2, 16.5]; P < 0.001]). Patients achieving normoglycemia required a significantly lower percentage of correction insulin (total daily dose [TDD]: 7.4% vs 23.4%; P < 0.001) and a higher percentage of nutritional insulin (TDD: 58.1% vs 36.2%; P <0.001) than hyperglycemic patients. There was no difference in the TDD per kilogram, TDD per milligram hydrocortisone dose, or TDD per milligram hydrocortisone dose per kilogram weight between the 2 groups.


The data suggest that non-critically ill patients with hyperglycemia receiving steroids require a higher percentage of TDD insulin therapy as nutritional insulin to achieve normoglycemia.

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