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What Is A Unit Of Insulin?

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What’s A Correction Factor? An Insulin Sensitivity? A Ratio?

Share: A Correction Factor (sometimes called insulin sensitivity), is how much 1 unit of rapid acting insulin will generally lower your blood glucose over 2 to 4 hours when you are in a fasting or pre-meal state. However, you should keep in mind: this is an estimate it may need to change as your baseline dose changes expect variations - sometimes 1 unit will lower it by more, and other times 1unit will lower it by less! calculating how much 1 unit of insulin will drop your blood sugar is a trial and error process, and sensitivity to insulin varies with the individual To get your total daily dose, add up all your usual meal time insulin and basal insulin. For example, Tom wants to calculate his correction factor: daily insulin dose: 8 units at breakfast, 6 units at lunch,10 at dinner and N/NPH 8 units at breakfast and 18 units at 10 pm Total Daily Dose (TDD) = 8 + 8 + 6+ 10 + 18 = 50 Correction Factor (CF) = 100/50 = 2 Therefore, one unit of rapid acting insulin would lower Tom’s blood sugar by 2 mmol/L over the next 2 to 4 hours. The average adult needs approximately 1 unit of insulin for every 2 mmol increase in blood sugar, but this can vary a lot between individuals: some peop Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Double-Helix, BSN

    It does depend on the drug.
    For insulin, a unit is a unit. That's how insulin is measured. Insulin dosages are calculated based on blood glucose and grams of carbohydrates consumed. Because insulin is a unique medication, the measurement is in units for simplicity. (1 unit of insulin does not equal one mL.) Insulin syringes are labeled in units for accuracy.
    There are also International Units, often known by the abbreviation IU. IU is a measure of the biological effect of a medication and mostly used in pharmacology. IU's are primarily seen when talking about vitamins. Keep in mind that most hospitals do not allow drugs to be ordered in IU dosages.
    As far as the other medications, there are several different units:
    Grams (g), milli-grams (mg), micro-grams (mcg), and milli-liters (mL) are the most common. You might also see dosages based on weight. For example, a pediatric dose might be measure as 1 mg per kg (kilogram) of weight. A vaso-active drug on a continuous drip might be measure in mg per kg of weight per minute. IV fluids are usually ordered in mL's per hour.
    A standard drug reference guide will tell you what the usual dosage range is for each separate medication. A good drug guide is a nurse's best friend!

  2. SHGR, MSN, RN

    One unit of U-100 insulin (the vast majority of insulin) is 1/100 of an mL. One unit of U-500 insulin is 1/500 of an mL, which is much more concentrated and rarely used.
    There are a few other medications that are measured in units (bicillin and heparin come to mind) but there is no one standard "unit" across the board, unlike mg or cc that have a measurement that is standard across the world. A unit of insulin has no relationship whatsoever to a unit of heperin or a unit of bicillin, unlike the standard metric types of dosing. I think you just have to learn them with experience.

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