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Case Study: U500 Insulin. Davida F. Kruger, MSN,APN-BC,BC-ADM Certified Nurse Practitioner Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Bone and Mineral Disorders Henry Ford Health System Detroit, Michigan. John S. 48 year old, white male Married. Wife has type 2 diabetes Works as a mechanic

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Case study u500 insulin

Case Study: U500 Insulin

Davida F. Kruger, MSN,APN-BC,BC-ADM

Certified Nurse Practitioner

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Bone and Mineral Disorders

Henry Ford Health System

Detroit, Michigan

John s
John S.

48 year old, white male

Married. Wife has type 2 diabetes

Works as a mechanic

Reports packing lunch of sandwich, fruit , chips and a few healthy snacks

Has seen dietian, working on portion size and carbohydrate content of meal ( was consuming 200 grams per meal)

BMI 42

Not physically active

SMBG 2-4 times daily, records in diary

Pertinent history
Pertinent History

Medical History:

Hypertension (20 years)

Dyslipidemia (20 years)

Recent MI (2010)

Stent December (2010)

Social History

Married, children grown

Never smoked

Social drinker (rare)

Diabetes management
Diabetes Management

Basal Insulin 200 units in divided dose, 100 units at breakfast and 100 units at 10 pm

Meal time insulin: 50 units at breakfast, 40 units at lunch, 50 units at dinner

A1c 9.8

Blood glucose monitoring consistent with A1c

What are this patient s options
What Are This Patient’s Options ?

Add more basal insulin ?

Add more meal time insulin ?

Switch to an insulin pump ?

Switch to U-500 insulin ?

What about the need for more concentrated insulins
What About the Need for More CONCENTRATED Insulins?

For more resistant patients, U-100 insulin both impractical and inconvenient

When over 100 units (1mL) required at one time, would need more than one injection

Large volume of insulin painful

Large depot of insulin impedes absorption making it unpredictable (a more concentrated insulin should be more predictable at these doses)

Insulin resistant conditions to consider u 500 insulin
Insulin Resistant Conditions to Consider U-500 Insulin

Non-Syndromic Insulin Resistance

Obesity with T2DM requiring > 200 u/day

Post-op or post-transplant state

High-dose steroids or pressors

Systemic infection

Pregnancy with underlying T2DM

Most recent pk pd u 500 data
Most Recent PK/PD U-500 Data

  • Duration of action was shown to be prolonged for U-500 vs. U-100; mean late tRmax50 was 3.4 hr longer than at the 100-U dose (p<0.001)

  • The longer duration of effect of U-500 compared to U-100 suggests that multiple daily injections of U-500 without use of a basal insulin may be a plausible treatment option for insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes

So is u 500 regular insulin a basal or a prandial insulin
So Is U-500 Regular Insulin a Basal or a Prandial Insulin?

It is BOTH!

Lag times never studied, but it only makes sense that when used as mealtime insulin timing between injection and eating is even more important than with U-100 regular (or analogue)

Main secret for success with U-500 insulin


Communicating u 500 dosing
Communicating U-500 Dosing

Two ways: “units” on a U-100 insulin syringe or volume (mL) on a tuberculin syringe

Ideally, would be nice if everyone used both; most patients will discuss this in units

My compromise with patients and in charting: always note U-500.


  • Patient is taking 10 units of U-500 insulin at breakfast (the equivalent of 50 units of U-100 regular) and it is decided to increase the dose to 14 units U-500

    • I tell the patient to increase the dose to 14 units U-500 in his U-100 syringe

    • I chart the dose was increased to 14 units of U-500 (which is 70 units of U-100 regular)


  • This can also be done in tuberculin syringes and only discussed in terms of volume of insulin

  • In the US tuberculin syringes only available in 27G needles

  • So 10 units of U-500 insulin would be 0.10 mL of insulin

  • An increase to 14 units would be 0.14 mL of insulin

  • My observation: patients and Health Care Providers prefer “units”

In patient issues with u 500
In-Patient Issues with U-500

  • Major concern for error

    • “units” or mL?

  • Many hospitals use both

    • “Give 10 units U-500 (0.10 mL) 30 min prior to breakfast”

Implementing u 500 insulin
Implementing U-500 Insulin

  • 150-300 units/day

    • U-500 has been shown effective with or without traditional basal insulin

    • Without basal insulin, U-500 can be split into ac breakfast and dinner shots (60/40) or ac TID (40/30/30 or 40/35/20)

    • Many continue basal insulin, esp. during transition from U-100

Like most insulin management, what we do with U-500 is generally anecdotal. The good news: these patients don’t generally get hypoglycemic!

Sidebar understanding basal insulin
Sidebar: Understanding Basal Insulin

GIRs for different doses of glargine injected into the abdomen

1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 units/kg > GIR than 0.5 units/kg, but not than each other!

1.5 units/kg

1.0 units/kg

2.0 units/kg

0.5 units/kg


Wang Z. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:1555-1560

Sidebar basal insulin in this population
Sidebar: Basal Insulin in This Population

  • No data comparing HS glargine, detemir, or NPH in these severely insulin resistant patients

  • Anecdote: the “peak” of the HS NPH often seems to improve fasting BGs better than the analogues

  • Another anecdote (“trick”): injecting a smaller volume of the NPH into two sites can improve efficacy of the insulin and improve glucose

    • Inject 40 units of NPH into two different sites instead of one large depot of 80 units (same with analogues?)

This patient
This Patient:

Tally his total daily insulin intake of u-100 insulin:

Basal 200 units plus 140 units of meal time insulin: 340 of u-100 insulin

340 ./. 5 = 68 units of u-500 insulin

Start by providing half at breakfast and half at dinner

34 units of u-500 insulin at breakfast and dinner using a u-100 syringe

What does the patient need to know
What Does The Patient Need to Know

  • Explain the difference between u-100 and u-500 insulin

  • Refer For MNT, diabetes education

  • Frequent blood glucose monitoring, charted for review

  • Treatment of hypoglycemia

  • Injection technique, site rotation

  • U-500 insulin only comes in a vial

What do you see
What Do You see ?

  • Fasting blood glucose remain elevated

  • Before lunch, after lunch and before dinner blood glucose elevated

  • After dinner and bed time blood glucose elevated

Next steps
Next Steps

  • Increase the following:

  • Dinner u-500 insulin 1-2 units (5-10 u-100)

    Corrects bed and fasting blood glucose

  • Breakfast u-500 insulin 1-2 units (5-10 u-100)

    Corrects after breakfast, before lunch and perhaps after lunch and before dinner.

  • Add lunch time injection. Start with 2-4 units u-500 insulin (10-20 units u-100)

    Corrects after lunch and before dinner blood glucose

What about cost
What About Cost?

  • U-500: 1 vial = $320/20 mL vial (mean of 3 pharmacies since not available at

  • U-100 regular insulin ( $73/vial (34% increase in the past 3 years)

  • Insulin lispro and insulin glargine: $126 and $119/vial (18% increase in past 3 years)

  • Insulin lispro-5 pens (15 mL) = $226 (13% increase in past 3 years)

  • Insulin glargine-5 pens = $220 (14% increase in past 3 years)

  • Insulin detemir -5 pens = $224 (13% increase in past 3 years)

What is the cost unit of insulin
What is the Cost/Unit of Insulin?

From, 4/27/11*


*U-500 cost at 3 pharmacies


  • U-500 insulin can be taken 15-30 min before meals and at bed time to control blood glucose

  • Small volume provides a more comfortable injection with better absorption

  • U-500 insulin works as both a basal and bolus insulin

  • Go slow and be sure patient is comfortable with insulin adjustments

  • Education, frequent blood glucose monitoring will help patient be successful