Use of NPH Versus Basal Bolus Insulin for Steroid Induced Hyperglycemia

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Northwestern University

Status and phase

Phase 4


Insulin Resistance, Diabetes
Hyperglycemia Steroid-induced


Drug: Insulin Aspart
Drug: glargine
Drug: NPH Insulin

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Glucocorticoids are known to cause an increase in insulin resistance, leading to hyperglycemia, in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. In both the inpatient and outpatient setting, steroids are used for their anti-inflammatory property to treat a variety of conditions. There is a paucity of information regarding the best way to treat steroid-induced hyperglycemia. In this study we will compare (1) the addition of NPH insulin, an intermediate-acting insulin, given at the time of steroid administration to the patient's standard basal/bolus insulin to (2) modification of the standard basal-bolus insulin regimen which will consist primarily increasing the prandial doses at lunch and supper in order to determine which regimen is superior for glycemic control.

Full description

Inpatients who will receive single daily doses of prednisone or methylprednisolone for treatment of their underlying condition and who become hyperglycemic will be eligible. Subjects will be randomized in a 1:1 fashion to one of two arms: (1) to their standard basal bolus insulin the addition of NPH insulin given at the time of the steroid adminstration, adjusting the dose based on the dose of steroid; (2) an increase in the basal and prandial bolus insulin doses based on the dose of steroid. Glycemic control and the incidence of hypoglycemia will be assessed over the first 3 days after initiating these insulin regimens.


3 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Patients receiving once daily dosing of methylprednisolone or prednisone in a dose of 10 mg/day or greater
  • Hyperglycemic (Glucose level > 126 mg/dL)
  • Diabetic and nondiabetic patients
  • Expected duration of hospital stay and time on steroids >= 3 days
  • Patient of appropriate caregiver able to give Informed Consent

Exclusion criteria

  • Patients with 2 or more doses of methylprednisolone/prednisone per day
  • Steroids other than methylprednisolone or prednisone
  • Pregnancy
  • estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 45 ml/min/1.73m2

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


None (Open label)

3 participants in 2 patient groups

NPH Insulin
Experimental group
NPH will be given at the time of steroid administration to the patient in addition to standard basal/bolus insulin the patient may be receiving in the following doses: Prednisone Dose (mg/day) - NPH dose (U=Units): 10-20 mg/day - 1.2U (units)/mg; 21-40 mg/day - 0.6U/mg; 41-60 mg/day - 0.45U/mg; 61-80 mg/day - 0.3U/mg; >80 mg/day - no additional NPH. Note that the amounts of NPH are added to each other for the various prednisone doses. For example, a dose of 75 mg/day of prednisone would come out to be (1.2U x 20mg = 24U) + (0.6U x 20mg = 12U) + (0.45U x 20mg = 9U) + 0.3U x 15 mg = 4.5U) for a total of 24 + 12 + 9 + 4.5 = 49.5U of NPH for 75 mg of prednisone.
Drug: NPH Insulin
Drug: glargine
Drug: Insulin Aspart
Basal/Bolus Insulin
Active Comparator group
Basal insulin (glargine) and Bolus insulin (insulin aspart) will be increased (doses given in U [units]/kg) according to the Prednisone dose (mg/day) as follows: Prednisone Dose (mg/day) - doses of insulin (U/kg): Prednisone 0 mg - Glargine 0.25U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.08U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.08U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.08U/kg; Prednisone 10-20 mg - Glargine 0.25U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.1U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.15U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.2U/kg; Prednisone 21-40 mg - Glargine 0.25U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.1U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.2U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.25U/kg; Prednisone 41-60 mg - Glargine 0.30U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.15U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.25U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.30U/kg; Prednisone 61-80 mg - Glargine 0.30U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.15U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.30U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.35U/kg; Prednisone >80 mg - Glargine 0.30U/kg, Bkfst Aspart 0.15U/kg, Lunch Aspart 0.35U/kg, Dinner Aspart - 0.40U/kg.
Drug: glargine
Drug: Insulin Aspart

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