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Insulin Brand Side Effects

Here are the 23 major types of insulin and their side effects.  If yours isn’t listed here let us know!

Side effects the unintended action(s) of a drug.

1   acetohexamide (a-see-toh-HEX-uh-myde) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Dymelor)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness; nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains; mild itching or rash, sweating, tremor, rapid heartbeat, and headache. The most common side effect is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. When taking this medication, carry a piece of non-dietetic hard candy to remedy issues with low blood sugar. More serious side effects include swelling and weight gain, urinating more than usual or dark colored urine, difficulty breathing, unusual bleeding or bruising, pale or yellowed skin, fever, confusion, weakness, jaundice, low fever, clay-colored stools; or a fever accompanied with sore throat, headache, severe blistering, peeling and a red skin rash.  

2   biguanide (by-GWAH-nide) a class of oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and by helping the body respond better to insulin. (Generic name: metformin)

Side Effects:

In rare instances, this medication can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition known as lactic acidosis; its symptoms include unusual tiredness, dizziness, severe drowsiness, chills, blue or cold skin, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, slow or irregular heartbeat; stomach pain with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Common side effects include abdominal discomfort, cough or hoarseness, reduced appetite, fast or shallow breathing, general malaise, fever or chills, low back or side pain, fast or shallow breathing, muscle pain or cramping, painful urination, and sleepiness. Less common side effects include anxiety, blurred vision, chest discomfort, cold sweats, coma, confusion; cool, pale skin; depression, difficulty breathing, dizziness, irregular or racing heartbeat, fast pulse, headache, increased hunger, increased sweating, nausea, nervousness, nightmares; redness in the face, neck, arms, and occasionally the upper chest; seizures, shakiness, slurred speech, tightness in the chest, and wheezing. Rare side effects may include difficult with concentrating or behavior changes that are similar to being drunk, drowsiness, lack or loss of strength, and restless sleep.

3   chlorpropamide (klor-PROH-pah-mide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Diabinese)  

Side Effects:

The most common side effect of this medication is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar with symptoms that include headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, trouble concentrating, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, fainting, or seizure. Other common side effects include indigestion and gas. Less common side effects include hives or welts, skin redness, and weight loss. Rare side effects include blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; cracks in the skin, loss of heat from the body; red, irritated eyes; red, swollen skin, and scaly skin.

4   D-phenylalanine derivative (dee-fen-nel-AL-ah-neen) a class of oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name: nateglinide)

Side Effects:

The most common side effects include cough, runny or stuffy nose, and sore throat. Infrequent side effects include abdominal or stomach pain, back pain, chills, pain in joints or muscles, sneezing, and swelling in joints. Rare side effects include convulsions and unconsciousness.  

5   glargine insulin (GLAR-jeen) very-long-acting insulin. On average, glargine insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection.

Side Effects:

More common side effects include low blood sugar, anxiety, behavior changes that are similar to being drunk, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, difficulty thinking or confusion; cool, pale skin; dizziness or lightheadedness, sleepiness, excessive hunger, rapid heartbeat, headache, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, slurred speech; and tingling of the hands, feet, or tongue. Less common side effects include allergic reaction with a rapid pulse, shortness of breath, skin rash or itching throughout the body, sweating, and wheezing. More rarely, bloating or swelling of the face, hands, lower legs, and/or feet may occur; pain at the injection site; or thickening of skin at the injection site.

6   glimepiride (gly-MEH-per-ide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Amaryl)

Side Effects:

The most common side effect of this medication is low blood sugar. Nausea or vomiting may occur, while rare serious side effects include yellowing of the eyes and/or skin, abdominal pain, darker urine, unusual weakness or malaise, bruising or bleeding easily, signs of infection such as a fever or persistent sore throat, mental or mood changes, unusual and/or sudden weight gain, and seizures.

7   glipizide (GLIH-pih-zide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)

Side Effects:

More common side effects include weight gain, excess urination, low blood sugar, incomplete or infrequent bowel movements, drowsiness, dizziness, taste issues, loss of appetite, increased hunger, headache, nausea or vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Less common side effects include redness of the skin or skin rash. Rare side effects or complications include liver failure, hepatitis or liver problems; decreased blood platelets, decreased white blood cells, or an acquired decrease of all cells in the blood; sun-sensitive skin; itching, hives, or rash.

8   glyburide (GLY-buh-ride) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase; ingredient in Glucovance)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include nausea, heartburn, stomach fullness, and weight gain. More serious side effects include stomach pain, bruising or bleeding easily, signs of infection such as fever, darker urine, unusual tiredness or malaise, sudden weight gain, mental or mood changes, seizures, and swelling of the hands or feet.  Rare side effects may include vomiting blood, fever, unpleasant breath odor, rash, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.

9   lente insulin (LEN-tay) an intermediate-acting insulin. On average, lente insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 8 to 12 hours after injection but keeps working for 18 to 24 hours after injection. Also called L insulin.

Side Effects:

Common side effects include weight gain, low blood sugar; depression in the skin or thickening of the skin; redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site. Rare side effects include visible water retention, abnormal fat distribution, difficulty breathing, chest tightness; swelling of the mouth, face, lips of tongue; vision changes, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, headache, rapid heartbeat, increased hunger, loss of consciousness, anxiety, and seizures.  

10   lispro insulin (LYZ-proh) a rapid-acting insulin. On average, lispro insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 5 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 1 hour after injection but keeps working for 3 hours after injection.

Side Effects:

The most common side effect is low blood sugar. Other side effects include reaction at the injection sites such as pain, redness, or irritation. Severe allergic reaction is rare, with symptoms that include rash, hives, itching, breathing difficulties, chest tightness; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; vision changes, chills, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, headache, excessive hunger, loss of consciousness, seizures, anxiety, weakness, and sweating.

11   meglitinide (meh-GLIH-tin-ide) a class of oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name: repaglinide)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include low blood sugar and joint pain. Other less common side effects include cold symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough, stuffy nose, or sore throat. Rarely, side effects such as difficulty breathing, seizures, hives or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat can occur.

12   metformin (met-FOR-min) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helping the body respond better to the insulin made in the pancreas. Belongs to the class of medicines called biguanides. (Brand names: Glucophage, Glucophage XR; an ingredient in Glucovance)

Side Effects:

The most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased flatulence. Anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, seizures, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, excessive hunger, fever, rapid heartbeat, nightmares, restless sleep, slurred speech, unconsciousness, and nervousness can occur. Rare side effects include decreased appetite, muscle pain or cramping, overall feeling of discomfort, and fast, shallow breathing.

13   miglitol (MIG-lih-tall) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It blocks the enzymes that digest starches in food. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Glyset)

Side Effects:

In the first few weeks of treatment, diarrhea, gas, stomach upset or pain may occur as the body adjusts to the medication. In rare cases it may cause a serious intestinal condition known as pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis with symptoms that include persistent diarrhea, constipation, or blood and mucus in the stool. Common side effects include bloating, excessive gas, increase in bowel movements, and loose or soft stools.  

14   nateglinide (neh-TEH-glin-ide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called D-phenylalanine derivatives. (Brand name: Starlix)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include cough, runny or stuffy nose, and sore throat. Less common side effects can occur such as stomach pain, back pain, chills, dizziness, joint or muscle pain, and swelling of the joints. Less common side effects include low blood sugar, anxiety, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, drowsiness, excessive hunger, rapid heartbeat, headache, nausea, nightmares, restless sleep, slurred speech, or unusual weakness.

15   NPH insulin an intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.

Side Effects:

Common side effects include redness, swelling, itching, or mild pain at the injection site. Rarely more serious side effects can occur such as a severe allergic reaction that may include swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; difficulty breathing; rash, hives, or itching; chest tightness, muscle pain, or wheezing. Other rare side effects include vision changes, chills, confusion, drowsiness, fainting, irregular heartbeat, headache, loss of consciousness, mood changes, convulsions, slurred speech, unusual hunger, excessive sweating, and weakness.

16   pioglitazone (py-oh-GLIT-uh-zone) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Actos)

Side Effects:

More common side effects include chest pain, decreased urine output, dilated neck veins, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing or heartbeat, teeth problems, shortness of breath, chest tightness, weight gain, wheezing, and swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs. Less common side effects include pain or swelling in the arms or legs without an injury, unusual bleeding or bruising, and unusual weakness.

17   repaglinide (reh-PAG-lih-nide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called meglitinides. (Brand name: Prandin)

Side Effects:

The most common side effect is low blood sugar with other common side effects including cough, fever, chest pain, runny or stuffy nose, painful sinus congestion, and sore throat. Rare side effects such as blood in stools or bloody urine, burning or painful urination, vomiting, wheezing, breathing difficulty, lower back or side pain, and unusual bleeding or bruising may occur.

18   rosiglitazone (rose-ee-GLIH-tuh-zone) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Avandia)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include pain or body aches, chills, cough, breathing difficulty, ear congestion, fever, headache, loss of voice, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, and unusual weakness. Less common side effects may include anxiety, blurred vision, chest pain, cold sweats, coma, confusion, decreased urine output, depression, dilated neck veins, dizziness, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing or heartbeat, increased appetite, nausea, nightmares, seizures, shortness of breath, slurred speech, chest tightness, weight gain, wheezing, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs.

19   sulfonylurea (sul-fah-nil-yoo-REE-ah) a class of oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. (Generic names: acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, tolazamide, tolbutamide)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include hunger, weight gain, and low blood sugar as well as stomach upset, dark urine and increased sun sensitivity. More rarely, trouble breathing, hives, seizures, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat can occur.  

20   thiazolidinedione (THIGH-uh-ZOH-lih-deen-DYE-own) a class of oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes that helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. (Generic names: pioglitazone and rosiglitazone)

Side Effects:

The most common side effects include weight gain, muscle pain, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headaches, and retention of body fluid which could lead to heart failure. Rare side effects include trouble breathing, hives, chest pain, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, symptoms of liver problems like yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, nausea or vomiting, and abdominal pain.  

21   tolazamide (tohl-AH-zah-mide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Tolinase)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include stomach upset such as nausea, fullness or bloating, and heartburn. Less common side effects like indigestion and gas, chills, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, fever, headache, hives, itching, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, chest tightness, unpleasant breath odor, skin rash, vomiting of blood, wheezing, yellowing of skin and eyes, dark urine, and clay colored stools can occur.

22   tolbutamide (tohl-BYOO-tah-mide) an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Orinase)

Side Effects:

Common side effects include belching, indigestion, chest pain, excessive gas, and stomach pain or bloating. Less common effects include skin redness as well as unusually warm skin. Rare side effects such as stomach pain, chills, dark urine, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, itchiness, reduced appetite, rash, unpleasant breath odor, unusual weakness, vomiting of blood, and nausea can occur.

23   ultralente insulin (UL-truh-LEN-tay) long-acting insulin. On average, ultralente insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection but keeps working 24 to 28 hours after injection. Also called U insulin.

Side Effects:

The most common side effect is low blood sugar; other side effects include itching, burning, swelling, or rash at injection site as well as headache, increased heartbeat, increased hunger, seizures, sweating, and unusual weakness. Rare side effects include severe skin rash and itching, hives, and difficulty breathing.

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