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Initiation And Titration Of Basal Insulin In Primary Care: Barriers And Practical Solutions

L. Perreault, L. Vincent, J. Neumiller, Tricia Santos-Cavaiola
Published 2019 · Medicine

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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 Resistance to basal insulin therapy is often linked to the outdated perception that the need for insulin represents a failure to control the disease, or that insulin is dangerous or toxic.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.
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