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J Am Board Fam Med. 2019 May-Jun;32(3):431-447. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2019.03.180162.

Initiation and Titration of Basal Insulin in Primary Care: Barriers and Practical Solutions.

Author information

1
From Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO (LP); University of California-San Diego, San Diego, CA (LV, TS-C); College of Pharmacy, Washington State University, Spokane, WA (JJN). Leigh.Perreault@ucdenver.edu.
2
From Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO (LP); University of California-San Diego, San Diego, CA (LV, TS-C); College of Pharmacy, Washington State University, Spokane, WA (JJN).

Abstract

Basal insulin therapy is a critical part of effective type 2 diabetes (T2D) management for many patients, yet its initiation and titration are often delayed or avoided. Aversion to basal insulin therapy contributes to unnecessary hyperglycemia and poorer outcomes for patients. Primary care physicians often make decisions regarding the initiation of basal insulin in T2D, as they work closely with patients and are well placed to discuss and manage the transition to basal insulin therapy. However, many primary care clinicians hesitate to initiate basal insulin due to concerns regarding time or effort needed to educate patients, doubts about patient acceptance or ability to manage titration or injection, or patient fears of hypoglycemia. Resistance to basal insulin therapy is often linked to the outdated perception that the need for insulin represents a failure to control the disease, or that insulin is dangerous or toxic. Time concerns can be addressed via group classes and mobile technology and by working with diabetes educators in the community. Hypoglycemia or weight gain can be minimized with proper titration and use of second-generation basal insulins. This article reviews strategies for the initiation of basal insulin therapy, with an emphasis on the characteristics and titration of second-generation basal insulins, introducing current guidelines and offering suggestions for recognizing and overcoming barriers to insulin therapy in the management of T2D.

KEYWORDS:

Hyperglycemia; Hypoglycemia; Insulin; Primary Care Physicians; Primary Health Care; Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Weight Gain

PMID:
31068410
DOI:
10.3122/jabfm.2019.03.180162
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Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest: LP is on the speakers bureau for Novo Nordisk, Merck, BI/Lilly, Astra Zeneca, Janssen, Orexigen, and advisory board/consultant for Novo Nordisk, Merck/Pfizer, BI/Lilly, Sanofi, Medscape, WebMD. TS-C is a consultant/speaker for Dexcom, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Senseonics, and Valeritas. LV and JN have nothing to declare.

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