Sliding Scale Insulin Therapy

Publish On Diabetes By Sandra Wilson

Sliding Scale Insulin Therapy

What is Sliding Scale Insulin?

To regulate the patient’s blood glucose levels, doctors use guidelines that can help them identify the amount of insulin that a patient should take, including the “Sliding Scale Insulin”. This form of insulin therapy sums up the daily insulin requirement of the body. Other than that, a sliding scale therapy observes a set of instructions and principles that must be followed. Some of these include:

  • The amount of carbohydrate intake is adjusted in advance.
  • The dose for basal insulin (also known as background insulin) is constant.
  • The bolus insulin (man-made insulin taken to regulate blood sugar levels) depends on the level of the blood sugar.
  • Doses for pre-mixed insulin (prescribed for a simple insulin treatment) depends on the level of the blood sugar.

Insulin dosage administration involving the use of sliding scale insulin is predicated according to the readings of the blood sugar. General charts containing the calculated doses and guidelines of the blood glucose readings of individual patients usually make up sliding scale insulin. It is based according to the needs of the patients, as well as the appropriate medical care they require.

Uses of Sliding Scale Insulin

Healthcare professionals use sliding scale insulin when it is most necessary. This explains why the therapy is only utilized short-term – during hospitalization or any cases where the insulin intake or dosage needs adjustment. The chart used in the scale also depends on the two factors of insulin dosage. These are as follows:

  • Pre-meal blood sugar level – This factor is located on the left-hand part of the chart. It lists the low to high dosages of insulin. Note that if the blood glucose level is high, the same range or high amount of insulin should be administered. The insulin dosage must equate to the blood glucose level.
  • Mealtime – This is located on the top row part of the char. It includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is also necessary to point out that no doses are the same each day. The insulin dosage before mealtime changes as the blood sugar levels also changes. As for the type of food to eat during meals, your healthcare professional will also take that into account.


  • Applicable for immediate dosing and treatment.
  • Repeated doctor consultation is not necessary as the sliding scale can already determine the right dosage to take.
  • It does not require repeated daily calculations.
  • Following an advanced and simple plan for diabetes treatment is more comfortable than adhering to an extensive treatment plan.


  • It does not prevent high blood glucose levels.
  • Reactive approach instead of being proactive.
  • Considered as a less-than-ideal treatment method. This explains why many healthcare professionals today do not utilize this method in treating diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
  • Poses a risk of increased blood sugar level on a daily basis.
  • A sliding scale can change the activity of a diabetic person. This change can affect the blood sugar level, making it difficult to control and manage the disorder.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.