Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist
What are the insulin side effects? Are they all related to injections and shots, pump therapy or there is something else I need to know? What about side effects of Lantus? What is happening during pregnancy?
Most of the type1 diabetics have reported side effects of insulin medication. Although insulin is a very important to treat type1 diabetics, however it still remains a diabetes medication.
This does not mean that all people taking insulin would experience side effects. What I want you to know is what they are and what you can do once you notice them.
For better understanding purpose, the insulin side effects can be organized as:
I - Side effects of insulin injections (shots)
• Minor, such as: rash and redness of the place where the insulin is injected, which is not associated with any systemic reaction of your body.
What you can do: In this case, change the position of insulin injection. One time in one arm, another insulin shot in the other; or use abdominal muscles.
If it persists and is accompanied by major side effects, then you should stop taking it, and consult immediately your physician for further assistance.
• Major, such as persistent skin rash, feeling like fainting, fast palpitations, cold sweat, breathe difficulties.
What you can do: If these symptoms persist, you must consult your physician about your problems and get further medical assistance.
II - Pump Insulin side effects
When you're taking insulin by inhalation (pump), you may face upper-respiratory tract problems, such as persistent respiratory infections, coughing, breathing difficulties (shortness or painful breathing), or maybe allergic reaction signs.
What you can do: Stop taking insulin by inhalation immediately and contact your physician.
Sometimes, the insulin side effects can be classified on how often they occur. So, there can be:
• Common side effects such as: swoon, seizures, cold sweats, your skin may become pale and cool, headache, you maybe anxious, have a strange behavior like being drunk.
Sometimes you may feel sleepy, cannot concentrate, be confused on what’s happening around you, feel very tired and weak, have a bad sleep (restless one), your eye vision may be blurred, your speech is spurred; or even low blood sugar level.
All the above insulin side effects may arouse due to immediate body reaction to insulin components. Another cause might be the rapid drop of blood sugar level after insulin administration.
What you can do: If you thing that the above manifestations are due to hypoglycemia (caused by too much insulin intake), go and eat a spoonful (or more) of table sugar or honey, or drink a sugary juice.
They will raise your sugar blood level very quick. After taking the first aid at home, consult immediately your physician.
Otherwise, if you think that the amount of insulin intake is very little, it cannot lower your blood sugar level. Instead, it will be responsible for the onset of hyperglycemia, and further diabetes complications.
What you can do: Consult immediately your physician to change your insulin dosage to get the appropriate effect.
• Rare insulin side effects such as: your skin at the place of insulin injection may become very thick and in the meantime suppressed.
What you can do: For this you must change the place you’re taking injections, and further consult your physician.
Maybe sometimes it might happen to see your face, fingers, ankles and even your feet swollen.
What you can do: If you’re taking other medications along with insulin, you must tell your physician what you’re taking. This is to ensure and avoid insulin interactions with other medications, which require special clinical attention.
Below you may find some insulin interactions reported as insulin side effects as well.
If you drink alcohol, take ACE, NSAIDs, MAO, ketokenazole, lithium, disopyramide, aspirin (in large doses), tetracycline, all these can improve the insulin effects. The result is the hypoglycemia onset.
On the other side, some drugs like beta blockers can elongate the effects of insulin. At the same time they may veil the hypoglycemia onset signs.
You must know that cortison-like drugs, furosemide and thiazide diuretics, thyroid hormones, phenytoin, oral contraceptives, or if you’re smoking (nicotine), they all can raise the insulin demands. And your physician may ask to shift to higher doses of insulin than your usual intake.
Remember: all the above is only a precaution in order to educate yourself on the possible risks of insulin side effects.
You must collaborate very closely with your physician for further medical assistance you may need.
You can help yourself decreasing
the insulin side effects lowering its dosage with natural cures for diabetes.
I know that you may have type1 diabetes, but you still can reduce your insulin side effects by merely educating yourself on other possible natural alternatives to reduce its dosage.
What about side effects of insulin Lantus type?
As you may probably know, Lantus is long-acting type of insulin, especially designed for type 2 diabetes that is injected only once daily.
The side effects of Lantus are the same as for the other types of insulin, just follow the above recommendations.
What about insulin side effects during pregnancy?
Insulin is considered safe to use during pregnancy. This means no harm effects on your baby. In general, common types of insulin are included in the category B of medicines (no addequate study has been carried out in pregnant humans, while no harm has been shown in animal fetus).
Keep also note that new types of insulin are included in the category C of medicines (no study has been carried out in pregnant humans; while no harm has been shown in animal fetus).
Getting all the above knowledge, feel free to discuss with your doctor to decide what is best for you.