Understanding Insulin Administration: Types for Continuous Intravenous Infusion

Insulin is a critical hormone in the regulation of blood sugar levels, and for individuals with diabetes, it’s often administered through various methods to manage their condition effectively. One lesser-known but crucial method of insulin delivery is continuous intravenous infusion. In this article, we will explore the types of insulin that can be administered through continuous intravenous infusion, shedding light on this important aspect of diabetes management.

Continuous Intravenous Infusion of Insulin

Continuous intravenous infusion of insulin is a method of delivering insulin directly into the bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line. This approach is typically reserved for specific medical situations, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), severe hyperglycemia, or critical care settings. It provides a more precise and rapid way to control blood sugar levels when patients are unable to eat, absorb oral medications, or use subcutaneous insulin injections.

When administering insulin intravenously, it’s crucial to use the right type of insulin, as not all insulin formulations are suitable for this method.

Types of Insulin for Continuous Intravenous Infusion

  1. Regular Insulin (Short-Acting Insulin): Regular insulin, also known as short-acting insulin, is a common choice for continuous intravenous infusion. It has a rapid onset of action and a short duration, making it well-suited for the precise control of blood sugar levels. Regular insulin is often diluted in normal saline or another appropriate solution before being administered intravenously.
  2. Novolin R and Humulin R: These are brand names for regular insulin formulations that can also be used for intravenous administration. They work similarly to other regular insulin products.
  3. Insulin Aspart (NovoLog) or Lispro (Humalog): While regular insulin is a traditional choice, newer rapid-acting insulin analogs like insulin aspart (NovoLog) or insulin lispro (Humalog) can also be administered intravenously. These insulin analogs have a rapid onset of action, similar to regular insulin, and may be used in certain clinical situations.
  4. Glargine (Lantus) and Detemir (Levemir): Long-acting insulins like glargine and detemir are not suitable for continuous intravenous infusion. They are designed for subcutaneous use and have a slow, consistent release profile, which is not well-matched to the rapid action required in intravenous insulin therapy.

How Continuous Intravenous Infusion Works

Continuous intravenous infusion of insulin is typically carried out in an intensive care or critical care unit under the supervision of healthcare professionals. The process involves the use of an IV pump to deliver a controlled and consistent infusion of insulin. The insulin infusion rate can be adjusted based on frequent blood glucose monitoring to maintain target levels.

This method is particularly important in cases of severe hyperglycemia or DKA, where rapid reduction of high blood sugar levels is critical to prevent life-threatening complications.


Understanding the types of insulin that can be administered through continuous intravenous infusion is crucial for healthcare providers, especially in critical care settings. Regular insulin and rapid-acting insulin analogs like insulin aspart or lispro are the primary choices for this method, as they provide the rapid action required to control blood sugar levels effectively.

Continuous intravenous infusion of insulin is a specialized approach and should only be performed by trained medical professionals. It plays a vital role in managing extreme hyperglycemia and conditions like diabetic ketoacidosis, ensuring that patients receive the prompt and precise treatment they need to regain metabolic stability.

For individuals with diabetes, it’s important to be aware of the various insulin delivery methods and the appropriate situations for each. When facing severe hyperglycemia or DKA, intravenous insulin therapy can be a lifesaving intervention, and knowing which insulin types are suitable is a critical part of effective diabetes management.


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