Hyperglycemia is a recognized complication of supraphysiological steroid dosing. There are no consensus guidelines on optimal treatment of steroid-induced hyperglycemia. We assessed the safety of a weight-based insulin protocol for persons treated with supraphysiological doses of steroids to examine the efficacy of using this protocol in patients with diabetes treated with prednisone or methylprednisolone.
Areas of Uncertainty:
There is uncertainty about the optimal dosing of insulin to manage steroid-induced hyperglycemia; thus, a weight-based protocol was created with the goal of reaching euglycemia faster than current practice in persons with diabetes. Variables such as steroid dosing, baseline glycemic control, and duration of steroid use further complicated the ability to manage these patients.
The interdisciplinary team of diabetes providers and pharmacists worked together to devise a protocol to manage steroid-induced hyperglycemia with the goal of reducing hyperglycemia while avoiding hypoglycemia, as well as to allow for less reliance on endocrine consultation. The protocol used weight, insulin naivety, renal function, blood glucose measurements, and steroid dosing to determine the insulin dose. There was some evidence to suggest the proportion of blood glucose levels more than 200 mg/dL was lower after protocol initiation compared with before protocol initiation (P = 0.053). Several factors decreased the rate of successful outcomes, including minimal primary team participation, accurate completion of calculations based on the protocol, and initiation of the protocol after several days of hyperglycemia.