Insulin Side Effects

June 19th, 2013 by Helen Scholz

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the body. It works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin regular is a short-acting form of insulin.

Insulin regular is used to treat diabetes.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to insulin, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

To make sure you can safely use insulin, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including any oral (by mouth) diabetes medications.

insulin is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.

FDA pregnancy category B. Insulin is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether insulin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of insulin allergy: itching skin rash over the entire body, wheezing, trouble breathing, fast heart rate, sweating, or feeling like you might pass out.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is the most common side effect of insulin. Symptoms include headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, trouble concentrating, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, fainting, or seizure (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal). Carry hard candy or glucose tablets with you in case you have low blood sugar.

Tell your doctor if you have itching, swelling, redness, or thickening of the skin where you inject insulin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Using certain medicines can make it harder for you to tell when you have low blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you use any of the following:

  • albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin);
  • clonidine (Catapres);
  • reserpine; or
  • beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Dutoprol, Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others.

These lists are not complete and there are many other medicines that can increase or decrease the effects of insulin on lowering your blood sugar. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over the counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.