Are you traveling east and losing more than three to four hours of your 24-hour day? If you are on Lantus or Levemir, you can continue to take it at the same time as your "old" time zone. If you are on an intermediate-acting insulin (NPH), reduce the amount equal to the percentage of day lost (if you lost 6 hours, that equals 25 percent, which would equal a 25 percent reduction in NPH dose). Your other option is to skip the NPH dose and cover with rapid-acting insulin every three to four hours until you arrive, in which case you can resume NPH on the "new" time zone at the time you normally would take it at home.
If you are going west and gaining three to four hours and using Lantus or Levemir, you can continue to take it at the same time or gradually adjust by one to two hours each day until it is adjusted back to your home time after you return. If you are on NPH, you may need extra rapid-acting insulin with meals.
Resource Manual for Diabetes Care and Education for Primary Care Practices: JoslinEZstart Guiding Insulin Initiation. 2006. Boston: Joslin Diabetes Center.
Warning: Please work with your healthcare provider. Although the following suggestions may be common approaches to insulin dose adjustment, you want to be sure you are safe and under the guidance of a professional before changing your insulin regimen. It takes time to understand these steps and to see how your body responds.
Tip courtesy of Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE.
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