Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Intermediate acting insulin given at bedtime: effect on blood glucose concentrations before and after breakfast.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 09 April 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:1173
  1. A J Francis,
  2. P D Home,
  3. I Hanning,
  4. K G Alberti,
  5. W M Tunbridge


    Six C-peptide deficient diabetics receiving twice daily mixtures of short and intermediate acting insulins were selected for study because of persistently raised blood glucose concentrations before and after breakfast. They were investigated to assess the effect of moving their evening injection of intermediate acting insulin to bedtime. The patients' usual twice daily insulin treatment was optimised and compared with the bedtime regimen during inpatient metabolic studies and an outpatient crossover study. With the conventional injection regimen blood glucose concentration rose sharply from 0500 to reach a fasting mean value of 10 +/- SE 1 . 6 mmol/l (180 +/- 29 mg/100 ml) and 16 . 8 +/- 2 . 2 mmol/l (303 +/- 40 mg/100 ml) after breakfast. By contrast, when the evening dose of intermediate acting insulin was delayed until bedtime the nocturnal rise in blood glucose concentration started later and was significantly lower both fasting (7 . 5 +/- 1 . 1 mmol/l (135 +/- 20 mg/100 ml); p less than 0 . 02) and after breakfast (13 . 2 +/- 1 . 4 mmol/l(238 +/- 25 mg/100 ml); p less than 0 . 02). Fasting blood concentrations of ketone bodies (3-hydroxybutyrate) were also significantly decreased. Plasma free insulin concentrations showed the predicted changes in five of the six patients. Blood glucose profiles collected over four months during the outpatient study confirmed the beneficial effect of giving intermediate acting insulin at bedtime.