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What are the side effects of insulin therapy for diabetes?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Low blood sugar is the most common side effect of insulin. It is more common in people who have irregular eating patterns, those who exercise without adjusting their food intake or insulin dosage, and people being treated with intensive insulin therapy.

Insulin injections can cause an allergic reaction, such as itching, swelling, redness, stinging, or warmth at the site of the injection. These reactions usually occur in the first three weeks after beginning injections and disappear within a few days or weeks.

The most common side effects of inhaled insulin are headache, cough, and throat pain or irritation. Inhaled insulin may also cause bronchospasm (narrowing of air passages in the lungs), low potassium levels in the blood, and allergic reactions, which can be severe.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.