What are the Side Effects of Lantus Insulin Diabetes Medication?
When one eats, the pancreas produces a hormone known as insulin. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the glucose receptor cells that the body can then store or use for energy. For diabetes patients, this isn’t necessarily the case, as the pancreas does not release adequate insulin, or the body can’t use the insulin properly. To control blood glucose, a diabetic patient generally has to supplement the normal function of the pancreas with insulin injections before or immediately after consuming food. However, insulin is required between meals, in minimal amounts, to control blood sugar. This is when long-acting insulin, such as Lantus, may be prescribed. Although it is considered effective, those taking Lantus may be at risk of its side effects. Insulin is available in different types and differs in the following ways:
- Onset – the time it takes to takes to be absorbed into the bloodstream and start working to help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Peak – when it’s most effective in controlling blood glucose levels.
- Duration – how long the insulin maintains blood sugar levels.
This article focuses on Lantus insulin and the possible unwanted effects an individual may experience while taking this medication.
How Does Lantus Work?
As indicated above, it’s a diabetic medication used to control blood glucose levels and may be used by patients with type 1 diabetes. Insulin glargine is the active ingredient in the medication. It falls under the category of long-acting insulin, also known as basal or background insulin, and it works slowly to keep the blood glucose under control over the course of an entire day; it takes at least 90 minutes before it starts to work after the shot, and it works for 24 hours after the injection. It is released slowly and constantly into your blood stream. Regulating blood glucose levels helps to prevent complications such as blindness, nerve problems, and sexual dysfunction. Additionally, proper diabetes control can minimize the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Inject this insulin once a day, preferably during bedtime or as directed by the medical care provider using an insulin pen. Remember to take the shot at the same time every day to prevent insulin stacking. Stacking means taking injections too close together, resulting in their effects overlapping. The physician may recommend taking this medication together with a short-acting insulin prior a meal to curb the blood glucose spike after eating. If you change this drug for another brand, the doctor may prescribe a different dose.
A nurse may administer Lantus shots; however, it can be tedious and time consuming going to the doctor’s office to receive injections every day. Thus, the healthcare professional may direct you or a loved one on how to administer the medicine at home. The procedure is easy to understand and remember. The injection is given under the skin. Choose a different injection site each time you need an injection, such as:
- The abdomen
- The stomach
- The thigh
- The upper arm
Only self-inject Lantus if you understand the following:
- How to prepare it
- The injection procedure
- How to discard injection materials
Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
Bear in mind that Lantus is often recommended by health practitioners to be used along side a proper diet and routine physical exercise. Keep unused bottles of the medication in the refrigerator, but avoid self-injecting cold insulin as it can cause negative effects around the injection site, like pain. Therefore, remove it from the fridge in advance. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap prior to measuring and injecting your insulin. The medication should be clear and colorless. If the solution is cloudy, discolored, or contains lumps, don’t use it. Instead, inform your doctor or the pharmacist. As mentioned earlier, one may be faced with undesired effects when using this medication, so what are the side effects of Lantus insulin?
Lantus Side Effects
The medication side effects affect patients differently. They may be minor or severe, and some may require medical attention whereas others may not. Using the medication in excess may lead to low blood glucose levels, characterized by the symptoms below:
- Cold sweats
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Fast heart beat
- Tingling of the hands or feet
Using an inadequate dosage of Lantus can lead to high blood sugar, resulting in the following symptoms:
- Increased urination
- Rapid heart breath
Contact your physician if any of the above symptoms occur; he or she may need to adjust your dose. Allergic reactions to this medication are an example of serious side effects. Allergic reactions to this medication can include the following symptoms:
- Severe dizziness
- Difficulty breathing
- Itching or swelling, especially in the face, throat or tongue
Supplements, recreational drugs, vitamins, prescription and over-the-counter drugs can trigger or worsen the side effects of Lantus insulin, that’s why it’s critical to inform your health care practitioner about all the medication you are taking. Always check the labels of all supplements and over-the-counter medications, such as cough medicine and multivitamins, before using them because they may contain sugar or alcohol that can interfere with your blood glucose levels.
Additional negative effects may include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Depression of the skin on the injection site
- Itching, redness, swelling and pain at the injection site
Bear in mind that the amount of food you eat may affect your insulin needs; eating less food, skipping meals, or eating more than usual will dictate your insulin needs, so inform your doctor if you change your eating habits so they may adjust your insulin dose safely to avoid the above listed negative effects .
Home Remedies for Dealing With Diabetes
Apart from taking Lantus medication, the following home remedies may help you better manage the condition:
- Make a commitment to manage diabetes – Get the proper information on diabetes. Enroll in a diabetes treatment program and establish a working relationship with the diabetes educator.
- Wear an identification tag – Wear a tag that indicates you have diabetes, as well as the medication you are currently taking.
- Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor, including eye exams – Frequent diabetes check-ups shouldn’t replace your yearly physical exams. Since diabetes often leads to vision problems, be sure to visit an eye specialist as well.
- Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control – Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help control high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If necessary, the doctor may prescribe medication to deal with them.
- Take care of your teeth – Diabetes raises the risk of serious gum infections. Floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day and plan regular dental exams.
- Quit smoking – People who smoke and have diabetes are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to non-smoking diabetics.
You now have information on the side effects of using Lantus insulin, as well as its benefits, how it works, and some home remedies that may benefit you. For more information, contact your local medical care provider.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.