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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What happens if you forget to take insulin?

    I am a new diabetic patient and obviously have many questions in my mind. My first one is what happens if I forget to take my insulin? How serious is this and what are the effects?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 6


    Kristina Craner

    Diabetes Educator

    Kristina Craner is a passionate Diabetes Educator with the knowledge and skills to empower people to manage their own diabetes. Fully qualified with a Bachelor … View Profile

    Well off course insulin works to lower your blood glucose levels - so if you miss your insulin - your levels will more than likely rise…depending on your type of diabetes and what insulin regime and your current level of control - will depend on the severity. Best to discuss further with your diabetes team. It is good to have a plan in place if you forgot to take your insulin.

  • 9


    Janelle Collins

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Registered Nurse

    Janelle Collins is a Credentialed Diabetes Educator and Registered Nurse who has over 18 years experience in working with people with Diabetes of all ages.Janelle … View Profile

    Missing an insulin injection will likely cause your blood glucose levels to rise and may cause you to feel tired, thirsty, or dry in the mouth, and you may need to urinate more frequently. If you have Type-1 diabetes, missing an insulin injection could also lead to the development of ketones. If you accidentally miss out on an insulin injection, check your blood glucose levels more frequently. Also, drink plenty of fluids. You may need to take a modified dose of insulin when you remember, depending on the situation and depending on the type of insulin you take. Contact your diabetes team if you are unsure of what to do.

  • 3


    Jayne Lehmann

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator

    As a Credentialled Diabetes Educator, I help people with type 1 or 2 diabetes to manage the physical and emotional side to feeling healthy with … View Profile

    Why not ask your diabetes team for a customised set of instructions for what to do if you forget your insulin? Then if it occurs you will already have the information you need.  Make sure you ask for information that includes the following:

    1. The amount of time after a missed injection e.g. Give x units if <2 hours after; Give x units if > 4 hours etc.

    2. What your blood glucose levels are like at the time e.g. if high you don't need to drop the dose as much as if your levels are low and giving the injection later

    3. What activity levels you will be doing - if doing more activity in the afternoon and levels already low, then the insulin dose will be lower than usual when giving it later.

    4. The action times of your insulin/s - you need to consider the length of time the insulin will be working fior

    These 4 issues all influence the amount of insulin you would need to give yourself when you have missed the usual injection time. 

    Why not book a session with your diabetes educator to go through the various components to feel more able to manage this situation. Everyone forgets their insulin sometimes but knowing what to do can make you feel better when it happens - because it is very likely to happen!

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