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Bolus Dose of Insulin


Updated June 15, 2014


A bolus dose of insulin is the dose of regular or rapid-acting insulin that is injected to cover the food eaten in a meal or a snack. When an insulin pump is used, the bolus is given, in addition to the basal rate, to cover food intake. Bolus doses are also used when blood glucose levels are too high, to lower the amount of glucose in the blood.

Bolus doses are figured by a combination of counting grams of carbohydrates of a meal or snack, and a current blood glucose reading taken before eating the meal. Usually, one unit of regular or rapid-acting insulin per 15 grams of carbs is a good starting point. This may be adjusted according to individual need. A bolus of regular insulin should be injected (or released via the pump) 1/2 hour before the meal. Rapid-acting insulins should be given at the start of the meal.


The Basics of Insulin. Retrieved December 13, 2007, from American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes/basics.jsp.

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