Insulin Therapy for Older Adults with Diabetes

Alissa R. Segal, PharmD, CDE, Associate Professor, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Clinical pharmacist, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Medha N. Munshi, MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director of Joslin
Geriatric Diabetes Program, Joslin Diabetes Center; Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The aging of the population and increasing prevalence of diabetes are worldwide phenomena that require a better focus on challenges of diabetes management in older adults. We now understand the benefits of tight glycemic control and have an armament of agents to achieve such a feat. However, in an aging population, balance must be sought between the goals of glycemic control and those of overall health status, including quality of life. Insulin therapy, in particular, requires significant self-care abilities. Insulin therapy can be used safely and effectively if diabetes management plans are formulated with consideration of the clinical, functional, and psychosocial contexts of an older adult.
Key words: diabetes, older adults, insulin therapy, geriatrics, glycemic control.