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.

Continue Learning about Insulin

What You Need to Know About Insulin
What You Need to Know About Insulin
Watch Darria Long-Gillespie, SVP of Clinical Strategy with Sharecare, explain why insulin is one of the most important hormones in the human body, and...
Read More
What is the difference between basal and fast-acting insulin?
William Lee DuboisWilliam Lee Dubois
A hormone called insulin is the oldest of the diabetes injectables, and it now comes in a variety ...
More Answers
Does intensive diabetes control affect cardiovascular complications?
Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MDFarzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Diabetes is a risk factor in the development of atherosclerotic heart disease. Intensive control thr...
More Answers
If I Have Type 2 Diabetes, Will I Eventually Have to Take Insulin?
If I Have Type 2 Diabetes, Will I Eventually Have to Take Insulin?

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.