Insulin for Diabetes Treatment (Types, Side Effects, and Preparations)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Better Blood Sugar Balance

What are the side effects of insulin?

Common and Serious Side Effects of Regular Insulin
Common Side Effects Frequency Serious Frequency
Hypoglycemia >40% Severe hypoglycemia n/a
Headache 12% to 35% Allergic reactions n/a
Flu-like symptoms 13% Anaphylaxis n/a
Weight gain 33% Hypokalemia n/a
Lipoatrophy n/a
Itching n/a
Rash n/a
Injection site reaction n/a
* n/a = not available

What is the dosage and how is insulin administrated?

Dosage and Administration of insulin

  • A meal should be consumed within 30 minutes after administering regular insulin
  • Insulin usually is administered by subcutaneous injection into the abdominal wall, thigh, buttocks (gluteal region), or upper arm. Injection sites should be rotated within the same region.
  • Some insulins (for example, regular insulin) also may be administered intravenously.
  • The dose is individualized for each patient.
  • A combination of short or rapid acting and intermediate or long acting insulin typically are used
  • Some patients may develop resistance to insulin and require increasing doses.
  • Multiple daily insulin injections or continuous subcutaneous infusions via a pump closely mimic pancreatic insulin secretion.
  • Insulin sliding scales (doses of insulin that are based on the glucose level ) may be used for managing critically ill hospitalized patients.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/11/2014

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