The most common side effect with the use of insulin is low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
Low blood sugar may occur if you:
Alcohol and some medicines can also affect your blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include weakness, dizziness, hunger, sweating, trembling, blurred vision, walking unsteadily or fast heartbeat.
If you experience any of these low blood sugar symptoms, do the following immediately:
Step 1: Check your blood sugar level with a home blood sugar meter (glucometer) if available. If your blood sugar level is less than 4 mmol/L, take 15 grams of sugar such as:
Step 2: You should feel better in about 15 minutes. If you have a home blood sugar meter, you should check your blood sugar level.
Step 3: If your blood sugar level is still less than 4 mmol/L or you still have symptoms of low blood sugar, you should take another 15 grams of sugar.
See a doctor or go to the hospital immediately if your blood sugar is always low and you experience symptoms even after taking amounts of sugar as directed by your doctor or nurse (see instructions above for management of low blood sugar).
Other side effects
Some patients may also experience mild pain, redness, inflammation, bruising, swelling, shrinking or thickening of the skin at the injection site. Continuous rotation of the injection site within the recommended areas for injections will reduce the chances of developing such reactions. They also usually go away in a few days to a few weeks.
You may also gain weight with insulin injections. Thus, you are encouraged to exercise regularly (at least 3 times a week) while on this medication.
Inform your doctor if
If your doctor has informed you that you need to do a fasting blood test, do not inject insulin until after you have your blood taken and are ready to eat.
Avoid taking alcohol with this medication.