Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Diabetes Prescription Insulin Medications (cont.)

Medical Editor:

What are the side effects of the diabetes drug insulin?

The main side effects of insulin have to do with taking too little or too much of the drug. The former can result in high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia.

A person with diabetes who has hyperglycemia frequently or for long periods of time may suffer damage to the blood vessels, nerves, and organs. In a worst-case scenario, hyperglycemia can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Loss of appetite, thirst, flushing, drowsiness, and a fruity odor on the breath are the first signs of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia can result from taking too much insulin, although missing meals and exercising excessively can also bring it on. This, too, can be a life-threatening. Initial signs of hypoglycemia include dizziness, sweating, tremor, confusion, and hunger. It's important to intervene before symptoms progress.

High doses of insulin can lower levels of potassium. If potassium gets too low, it can cause muscle aches or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms and even death. Other side effects of insulin include break down of fat at the injection site, the injection site might be depressed or raised, and allergic reactions, which can be local or involve the entire body. The latter may be life-threatening.


Find tips and advances in treatment.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors