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Abbreviations Will Get U in Trouble

The cause of many insulin errors is the use of abbreviations in written orders. The abbreviation “U” for “units” has often been misread as a zero, resulting in serious, tenfold overdoses. Recently, we heard about three new cases that illustrate other problems when abbreviations are used in insulin orders.

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Patient Query Helps to Catch Dosing Error

I was working as a diabetes nurse in a hospital when a patient I was seeing asked me to find out why she experienced two recent hypoglycemic episodes. She came into the hospital…on a mixed insulin (75/25 ) 25 units before breakfast and 15 units before dinner. On reviewing her chart, I saw where the doctor had changed her insulin to Novolog before each meal, dose based on her blood sugars, and Lantus 30 units at bedtime.

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