What happens to a diabetic person who is allergic to insulin ?

By nzingha Latest Reply 2017-01-28 19:19:36 -0600
Started 2011-08-28 19:50:15 -0500

If your diabetes has reached the stage where you need to administer insulin,and you are allergic to insulin,… what next?

26 replies

Faye spouse
Faye spouse 2017-01-28 19:19:36 -0600 Report

My husband is allergic to everything they have put him on . I am very nervous about this as the rash is very bad and blisters form . This happens with oral meds also . Any answers

Toastz 2017-01-22 15:15:51 -0600 Report

As ive seen with alot of online postings im not the only diabetic with allergies to the medication ive been on multiple oral and injection based medication now including: metphormin,januvia,foxiga,victoza,lantus,levimere,novo rapid, novomix70/30 apidra and toujeo and a couple more that i dont remember the names of to these medications ive had skin irritation rashes itchiness nautea headaches burning at injection sites and consistant for a couple hours thereafter. I was diagnosed 4 or 5 years ago to mi recollection and have never had stable reading since diagnosed ive not been believed by doctors about reactions until i rite out tell them to change the medication ive been admitted twice for week long durations due to ketoacidosis i wehnt on an insulin pump briefly thinking if any help ill take it and wound up in the hospital again now back on injections mi levels are in the high teens and sometimes 20s and they just say monitor well tweak it or lose weight and insulin will work better becuz i have moderate resistance to insulin ive tryed losing weight i cant it just comes back like a plague i mean is it just me im sorry to say but we are the ones going through days months year or suffering while they tinker with our lives and health…any suggestions also does anyone know of nickel free needles or pen tips (another allergy)

Type 1 more thanr 62 yrs.
Type 1 more thanr 62 yrs. 2016-07-29 13:45:23 -0500 Report

You might want to have an insulin antibody test taken, this will confirm your allergy. scale is 0-5 I came in at 52, it caused inflammation to surround my heart and I was headed for heart failure but my Pulmonologist admitted me immed. and I had the fluid drained,.also she put me on Montelukast,. This drug is decreasing my sensitivity to the insulin, and changing my symptomology. The scary thing about all this is I don't know if it actually the insulin I am allergic to or the preservative call m-cresol (aka Benzene, it is a hazardous chemical). I have been using this med. and it seems to be working fairly well and my heart is still ok. I developed a cough and am on meds for this also same type to keep my symptomology down but when my cough gets bad I know my allergy is rearing it's ugly head. Hopefully soon Mann Kind will reintroduce their inhaled insulin AFREEZA again, used it before and didn't seem to have any additional problems, it is a dry product and I am not sure of the preservatives but I am pretty sure its Benzene free.. Amazing since I am in my 63 year with this disease Doctors are now starting to listen to me instead of telling me that I am too far out of the box.. The only place this disease shows up is in my blood but my body never read the book saying I can't do this or that. FYI from years of exp. I keep a higher blood sugar, around 160 with my dr.s approval. and incase you have neuropathy ( I don't) raising your B/s can take care of this. Your brain needs sugar and when it doesn't have it, it steals it . The nerves in your limbs are coated in glucose and thats the first place to suffer. Check with a neurologist. I NOW HAVE 9 DOCTORS THAT AGREE. Regarding your A1C you as an individual need to find where your body needs to be.. I did and it is 8.2 As I said before Diabetes only shows up in my blood, eyes, kidney's etc are in great shape after 62+ years

mjoc 2015-10-07 15:32:16 -0500 Report

OMG, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear someone else having reactions to all the meds. I been going through this nightmare for two years now. Tried Metformin, Glyburide, Januvia, Lantus with Victoza, Humulin 70/30, Levemir and Humalog. While I was on the Lantus, I told my doctor that it made my legs swell up and my back hurt. He didn't believe me. Three months later, I have such bad and leg pain that I had 3 trips to my doctor, an MRI that supposedly showed spinal stenosis, a trip to a spine surgeon, who sent me to a pain specialist for three epidural injections (which did absolutely nothing), a trip to the ER that was a complete waste of time and 15 chiropractic visits. I finally talked my endo into switching me over from Lantus to Levemir. Two weeks later the pain was gone. I suffered for 6 months and the docs all thought I was crazy. I missed two weeks of work because I couldn't walk and also developed a rash along both forearms. I'm so fed up with all of this that I just want to stop taking all the crap. Now on Levemir and Victoza, which isn't working at 80 units a day. BTW, I've lost 30 lbs since being diagnosed, but it hasn't made a lick of difference. My endo won't even respond to the emails with my daily glucose levels anymore. What to do?

dfarmr 2016-10-08 15:32:21 -0500 Report

hi i know this was posted a year ago but i when reading about the rashes on both forearms, i was so relieved that it was not just me. i hope you are still here as i would like more info. about this because i too have gone through a host of bad reactions to insulin's, and with no help from my endo.

snoopysma 2015-04-21 21:38:21 -0500 Report

My dad was switched from synthetic insulin to human insulin. He developed a rash and complained his throat was closing up. His heart speeds up and feels quivery. The doctor absolutely won't believe him and thinks it's all in his head. When he stops insulin for a couple of days, his symptoms go away. The doctor finally agreed to set him up for a skin prick test but it's taking forever to get that done and I'm afraid my dad won't make it. I've had him in 3 different emergency rooms because he panics when he can't get his breath. I know he needs the insulin because of his high sugar but using the insulin is killing him too. He's not the same person and all this has happened in the last three weeks since starting human insulin. We don't know what to do.

Neshoma 2015-06-19 20:44:54 -0500 Report

I had 2 life threatening reactions to human cloned insulin I believe Novolog. My diabetic nurse told my doctor even though she saw me in the full blown attack, that I was just being "dramatic"! I never spoke to that nurse again! I was first given the insulin in the ER for very high blood sugar. I was given 7 units which is a lot for someone who has never had insulin before! I immediately had a weird smell in my nose and then a cold feeling in my throat. Then my heart started pounding out of my chest and I couldn't breath. The ER Staff freaked out and kicked my husband out of the room, put a heart monitor on me and started pushing cardiac drugs to slow my heart down. It would slow down for short periods of time and then speed up again. I was in the ER for 8 hours before it calmed down enough to let me go home. It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had. I truly felt like I was going to die. I kept asking the Doctors and Nurses to please not let me die! At the beginning the whole room turned white with a bright light, and I felt like I was going to leave my body. So,so, terrifying.
Then a week later I saw my doctor and the diabetic nurse. My doctor totally believed that I had a reaction to the insulin. They just couldn't figure out if it was the insulin or something contained in the suspension like a preservative or something else.
They decided to give me a test dose of insulin. They gave me the exact same insulin that I had been given in the ER. Why they did that I do not know. I injected myself with 1 unit of the insulin. Within several minutes I became dizzy and disoriented and anxious. Then my heart started pounding and I had trouble breathing. They took me to the treatment room and gave me O2 by nasal cannula. I was finally transferred by ambulance to the ER of a different hospital from the original attack. They gave me benedryl. I then finally felt good enough to go home. I later was sent to an allergist who told me that if I had 2 reactions that were so serious, that he wouldn't want to even try test doses because another reaction could get bad enough to kill me. He said I should just take oral meds from now on.
Only problem is that NOW I have reached the point in my disease where I am on three oral anti-diabetics and controlling my diet, but my blood sugars are way out of control and I also have an A1c of 10! So now I must find an allergist who knows how to administer insulin immunotherapy. I have read up on it and it sounds like it could help me, but I may have to endure another anaphylactic attack. I am so terrified of doing this I can't even tell you! But I feel that I am at the point where I really don't have a choice. So I have set up an appointment with an allergist. I will see him in August. So who knows what will happen.
You should get your father to an allergist, and if the endocrinologist he is seeing doesn't believe him about having this reaction I really think it's time for your father to find a new endocrinologist! If it is his primary doctor I suggest the same. Sometimes changing doctors can make a huge difference when you find one who believes what you are saying. I wish you and your father the best of luck!

snoopysma 2015-06-24 08:44:27 -0500 Report

Wow! Thank you for your reply to this. You are really having a hard time. I will pray for you. We actually did see an allergist, who did say he was afraid to do the test, just like you said, for fear it could kill him. Fortunately, the hospital found an oral need he can take, Glyburide, and he's doing well now. But it took a week in the hospital and several psych evaluations before getting to that point. They were convinced it was all in his head. I can't tell you how many doctors would say there's no way you can be allergic to insulin.

NavyNerd 2011-09-06 23:22:14 -0500 Report

I wonder if they would treat like they did before insulin discovery- starvation diet? Could they do a pancreatic transplant, because then you'd still produce insulin..

Is it a matter of allergic to one insulin, synthetics versus human, etc.? I am allergic to Lantus, but not Humulin. It was a trial and error for me- I tried it, had a reaction, got switched over till we found one that worked and I wasn't allergic to. (I am allergic to all the oral meds too, go figure.) I believe they still make some that are not synthetic, so is that an option?

I am really curious about this myself.. because I seem to develop allergies to anything I take long term and I am a couple years into insulin shots now.. it scares me a bit.

JDCA2025 2011-08-29 15:42:05 -0500 Report

Probably a whole lot of insulin differentiation, and trying out a bunch. Though as many people have said, this is pretty rare since our bodies produce it, and quite frankly, you would've had quite a rough life beforehand if you were allergic to your own insulin.

realsis77 2011-08-29 14:07:19 -0500 Report

Wow what a terriable thought! I take two different kinds of insulins everyday and I don't know what id do without them! I do know their are diffrent kinds. They even have animal insulin. So I'm sure maybe if your alergic to the senthetic human insulin perhaps you would not be allergic to the animal insulin? Just a thought because I know they make insulin in different ways so that might be an option for the allergic person. Our own body produces insulin so likely if their allergic its something in the synthetic that's causing the reaction and perhaps the animal insulin would be a closer match to their own body.

margokittycat 2011-08-29 11:58:16 -0500 Report

Well are we speaking that they are allergic to all insulins? If so then I would say a pancriatic transplant which they have done, but I do not know who you would talk to about that. I am allergic to long lasting insulins but can take the short term which amounts to Regular insulin only.

nzingha 2011-08-29 07:11:51 -0500 Report

I was reading and wondering about this… but yes it happens. and my next question is what are the symptoms that one could be allergic to insulin?

NavyNerd 2011-09-06 23:36:44 -0500 Report

I had hives, huge welts, burning around the injection site, swelling- teh size of my fist around the injection sites, sometimes headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, muscle weakness, and lipodystrophy- the insulin ate away the fat layer over my muscles. Used to be so proud of my legs- I was a professional cyclist for a bit- not any more. The second and third insulins I tried did the same thing- lipodistrophy, I mean. And teh welts and stuff started when the injection volumes went up even with different insulins. I think its the delivery system- the solution they put the insulin in is what I am probably allergic to because when they hyper concentrated it, I can handle 20 or 25 units. anything o ver 50 or 60 and I'm outta luck.

nzingha 2011-09-08 07:12:18 -0500 Report

i think its just that my body does not like the flipping thing..insulin that is… i can actually feel it fighting the cells when i inject. i tried explaining to my doc.. she does not understand..never heard that before.. it makes my face puffy and my eyes stare out like i am having thyroid problems but when they checked my thyroids r fine…this disease needs to be fixed.. all that money being spent on war weapons needs to be spent on research.. getting really fed up now..!

realsis77 2011-08-29 14:19:33 -0500 Report

I would say an insulin allergy (which is rare because our body produces it) would have the same symptoms of any antophlactic reaction. Such as extreme rash and redness, itching over entire body, possiably swollen tongue, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, fever, those are some major signs of a antophlactic reaction or allergy.so I would look for these tell tale signs. You usually would immedately have the reaction and it would become more and more severe each time you used the insulin.I know I'm allergic to sulpha drugs and the first time I used the drug I had a whole body rash and the above symptoms. Its something you usually know immedately! And usually you must go to the emergency room right away when this occurs! It is like I said a fairly instant thing! There would be no question of the allgery because it would manafest itself in such a way that the allgeric person would know.

kdroberts 2011-08-28 21:17:20 -0500 Report

Insulin allergy is extremely rare but there are some immunotherapy treatments that can help a lot. It would depend on how bad the allergy was and if oral medications were really a no go. The latter is only usually not an option when your body can no longer produce insulin, most other cases oral medications can be used if the patient is willing.

nzingha 2011-08-29 07:12:32 -0500 Report

..if the patient is willing…? what choice would he or she have but death? lol!

kdroberts 2011-08-29 07:16:56 -0500 Report

The sad reality is the majority of people with diabetes are unwilling to change their diet and amount of physical activity they do.

nzingha 2011-08-29 07:21:35 -0500 Report

Is that really true tho..? u mean they have chosen to die because that is what it would add up to.. I have never been more motivated because I dont know what is on the other side.. I only know about life and I believe that when its over its over..so y wouldnt i want to extend my time here for as long as possible?.. and so I excercise and I have changed my eating habits of which i am very proud and seeing myself fit back in all my clothes makes me feel really good these days..There is hardly a day I dont excercise and am feeling better and stronger everyday…u just have to take control!

snoopysma 2015-06-24 08:50:48 -0500 Report

I can tell you what's on the other side, Heaven! Please look up John 3:16 and John chapter 14 in the New Testament of the Bible. I'd be glad to talk to you more about this.

realsis77 2011-08-29 14:29:27 -0500 Report

Yes,but some people need the medication. I know I'm on insulin myself. I could not get my numbers under control with diet and excercise alone. Some people can't. They need the help of the medication. And that does NOT make them a failure in any way! Nor does it mean they are lazy. The goal here is getting the numbers under control to prevent complacations. If that takes medication or insulin then so be it. It is just another form of treatment plan. Its great to have different treatment options avaiable to us to help us achieve our goals don't you agree? I thank God for my insulin! Now my numbers are under control where as before insulin they were out of control. The longer we stay out of control the higer risk we are for complcations. The real goal here how ever it is achieved,is keeping those numbers down. We are blessed to have different options in treatment avaiable to us now days! I know many people are extremely movitated but still need the help of insulin or medication.this is another way of taking control of your diabetes!

NavyNerd 2011-09-06 23:32:21 -0500 Report

Very true.. I have another endocrine disorder (or handful of them) and my tripleP (pancreas, parathyroid and pituitary) took a huge hit when I was pregnant last time. It fried teh system, and now it's a downward spiral.. diabetes and hypertenstion started it and now I have to take a written list of my diagnosis with me and then they only took 6 weeks to put me on disability. I expected a fight.. depressing really. Glad for teh help it brings, sad for the vallidation that I am seriously messed up healthwise. Sometimes a body is just so broken it need the meds, and no matter what you do (starvation diets, carb counting, NO carb diets, work outs easy, cardio, nothing at all, been there, didn't help) it's just broken. Sort of leaves a body feeling helpless really.. I was motivated for a long time, still try to be, but no matter what I fix, something else falls apart faster than I can fix stuff and I am not even 35 yet! Least I found an insulin that works, most of teh time, and an endo and internist who listen (finally) Yay! Small victories…

realsis77 2011-09-06 23:56:45 -0500 Report

Yes thank God for small victory! God bless you! Stay strong! I'm sorry for all your health issues! I do hope you feel better soon! When I had my last child I lost all my body blood leading to a dic coma, and death for a undetermined amount of time. I was on life support for a month. It left me with blood clots (that are resolved now) lung disease from scaring, brain samage and a whole mess of female problems. I'm 42. I understand where your comming from. Just thank God for today and keep strong! God bless you!

realsis77 2011-09-07 09:53:38 -0500 Report

Hi! Well, as for my health now I have lung disease because of the scaring of the life support machine and I believe my left lung is still filling with fluid. Recent cat scan confirmed that. I take a water pill to help and numerous other pills. My rx is over 1000 dollars a month but thank God for medicare!. It seems each new year brings on yet another health issue. Last year it was diabetes.besides the lungs my female problems are awful! I don't even want to begin to say. I also had to have a spine surgery where they fused bone from my hip to my lower spine and put a large bar into my back. Well that hardware failed and slipped right.soo I need another surgery but I'm so fearful to get it done! I still have extreme memory loss from the coma and some people and things are totally erased from my mind.I try not to really think to much about all the health problems but sometimes honestly I have no energey and feel so terriable.I got put on insulin for my diabetes and that has helped a lot. I recently have been having some stomach issues and my doc thinks it might be neuropathy. I hope not! He ran some tests so I'll know later. All this started after the coma and I was only 30 years old. I am very greatful to be alive and try to take each new issue and just move on with it.I try and stay positive and it helps a lot. But sometimes I do get down.I really have been through hell medically and I thank God for every day he's given me now! Thank you so much for your kind concern! God bless you for careing! Mostly I take one day at a time and try to do my best to feel or be "normal". I just worry about what will happen when I'm older? But I pray and have faith God will see me through! Thank you so much for your friendship and please take care!