Basal insulin for the management of diabetic ketoacidosis Academic Article uri icon


  • Due to its pharmacokinetic properties, it has been suggested that long-acting insulin analogues may have a role in facilitating the transition from continuous intravenous insulin infusion to subcutaneous maintenance therapy in patients with DKA for prevention of rebound hyperglycemia, particularly if there are high insulin requirements. Concomitant administration of basal insulin analogues with regular insulin infusion accelerates ketoacidosis resolution and prevents rebound hyperglycemia. Several studies have investigated the use of basal insulin in the management of DKA. Studies have been instituted on pediatric patients and adult patients. These studies reveal that co-administration of basal insulin in combination with an insulin infusion in the acute management of DKA is feasible. Basal insulin co-administration with regular insulin infusion was well tolerated, associated with faster resolution of acidosis without any adverse effects; patients required a shorter duration of intravenous insulin infusion and had a lower total dose of intravenous insulin and significantly decreased hyperglycemia after discontinuation of the intravenous insulin. This could potentially lead to a shorter ICU length of stay and reduced costs in the treatment of DKA. However, this approach may be associated with an increased risk of hypokalemia. The current literature on this management approach is incomplete, due to its many limitations (retrospective nature, small sample size, nonrandomized design). Additional prospective randomized studies are needed on this new therapeutic approach in the management patients with DKA.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018