Insulin Drug Class

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that lowers and helps regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. With diabetes, the body has trouble producing insulin or the cells refuse to respond to the insulin being produced. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate the glucose in the body. In type 2 diabetes the pancreas produces insulin, but the cells in the body do not respond to the insulin. In both cases, regular insulin can be used to help regulate the glucose levels in the blood.

Insulin Drugs

Regular insulin is a short-acting insulin injected under the skin for the treatment of diabetes, but there are several other types of insulin. Some of the most common types of insulin are listed below.

  • NPH insulin
  • Lente insulin
  • Ultralente insulin
  • Humalog insulin
  • Afrezza

Insulin Uses

Regular insulin is a short-acting form of insulin used to treat both types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the drug compensates for the lack of natural insulin being produced by the patients’ pancreas. In type 2 diabetes, regular insulin helps the cells that are not responding to insulin being produced in the patient’s body. Regular insulin is usually injected under the skin, with the abdominal region being the recommended injection site, but it is recommended not to use the same injection site twice. Regular insulin combined with proper diet, exercise, weight control, and blood sugar testing has proven to be a successful treatment for diabetes.

Insulin Side Effects

The most common side effect of regular insulin is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include headache, increased hunger, increased heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and in some cases seizures. If left untreated hypoglycemia can prove to be fatal. A doctor should be contacted immediately if swelling of the extremities or rapid weight change occurs. Other side effects of insulin include

  • Rash over the entire body
  • Wheezing and trouble breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Insulin Interactions

Patients taking albuterol, clonidine, or certain beta blockers should be aware that these drugs make it more difficult to obtain an accurate blood glucose level and may therefore make it difficult to choose the correct dosage of insulin. Always use a disposable needle for insulin injections and dispose of immediately and never share a needle with another person.