New Insulin Guide From the AHRQ

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New Insulin Guide From the AHRQ

A clear understanding is vital to patient education

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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We used to think that diabetes education was easy: Test urine before you eat in the morning and then take your insulin; use the same unit syringe as the insulin, and don’t shake the bottle; go clear to cloudy, rotate injection sites and eat as soon as possible; and keep your medicine in the refrigerator.

It probably was never that simple, and it sure isn’t now. But to help you and your patients keep the wide variety of insulins straight, there is a new guide from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The summaries are the result of a study prepared by the Johns Hopkins Evidence-Based Practice Center, which looked at 48 research studies to compile the conclusions. Tables comparing prices for vials and pens of the different products are included.

Nurses and patients don’t usually make the decision on the type of insulin, but a clear understanding of the differences is vital to patient education. It is the rare patient who remains on the same insulin throughout his or her lifetime. Even more rare is the nurse who administers only one type of insulin.

The guide comes in two different pamphlets: one written for medical professionals and one for patient use, and you can obtain free copies from AHRQ by calling 800-358-9295. For the clinician version, ask for publication 08(09)-EHC017-3, “Pre-mixed Insulin Analogues: A Comparison with Other Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes.” For the consumer booklet, ask for 08(09)-EHC017-A, “Pre-mixed Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes: A Guide for Adults.” The electronic version is available at  

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