Appropriate Titration of Basal Insulin in Type 2 Diabetes and the Potential Role of the Pharmacist

Dhiren Patel, Curtis Triplitt, Jennifer Trujillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A substantial proportion of patients with suboptimal control of their type 2 diabetes experience delays in treatment intensification. Additionally, patients often experience overuse of basal insulin, commonly referred to as “over-basalization,” whereby basal insulin continues to be uptitrated in order to meet targets, when addition of a mealtime bolus insulin dose may be a more appropriate option. In order to overcome these challenges, there is a need to develop the capacity of allied healthcare professionals to provide appropriate support to these patients, such as during initiation or titration of basal insulin. Pharmacists play an integral role in healthcare delivery, with patients seeing their pharmacist, on average, seven times more often than their primary care physician. This places pharmacists in a unique position to provide diabetes education and care, which may help patients avoid clinical inertia. Nevertheless, the management of the disease with basal insulin is becoming increasingly complex, with growing numbers of treatment options (such as recent second-generation longer-acting basal insulin formulations) and frequently updated titration algorithms. The two most common titration schedules specify either increasing doses by a set amount every 2–3 days or a treat-to-target strategy. Neither schedule has been shown to be superior, and the decision to use one or the other should be based on a discussion between the clinician and patient after assessment of mental and physical acumen, comfort of both parties, and follow-up plans. This review article discusses basal insulin therapy options and titration algorithms from the unique perspective of the pharmacist in order to help ensure that optimal antidiabetes therapy is initiated, appropriately titrated, and maintained. Funding: Sanofi US, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Therapy
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Basal insulin
  • Basal insulin overuse
  • Pharmacist
  • Titration algorithm
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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