Side Effects Of Diabetes Medicines
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Introduction to Diabetes and Diabetes Medications
Diabetes refers to the condition when sugar or glucose levels of your body become excessively high. If you are unable to control the condition with healthy food options and necessary physical activities, you may require the necessary diabetes medicines. The type of medicine you intake depends on your diabetes type, your work schedule, and related health conditions.
In case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to make any insulin i.e. a hormone that helps in the supply of glucose to body cells and provide them adequate energy. Without insulin, glucose stays in the blood in an excessive amount. Because of this, in the case of type 1 diabetes, you have to take insulin for the lifetime.
Type 2-diabetes takes place in individuals when their bodies fail to use the produced insulin in the way, as it should. If your body fails to maintain the insulin level, you have to intake the necessary pills. Along with physical workout and diet plan, type 2 diabetes medications list help patients suffering from type 2 diabetes to maintain their blood sugar levels within the targeted range.
Today, you will find a large number of diabetes pills, including many new diabetes medications. Each of the medicines or their combinations works in a unique way, because of which it is essential for us to stay aware with side effects of diabetes medication available in the market.
Overview on Side Effects of Diabetes Medications
Side effect implies any unwanted issue caused mainly because of a diabetes medicine. A few side effects of diabetes medicine come with upset stomach or nausea and any other common side effect. In this case, doctors recommend you for your specific problem and provide effective ways to avoid or deal with it properly. On the other side, a few side effects are of severe and require immediate medical help.
Insulin – A Common Medicine to Treat Type 1 Diabetes
Insulin is a common type of medicine used to treat Type 1 diabetes. Even doctors recommend the same medicine to cure Type 2 diabetes.
Doctors/nurses give this medicine in the form of both oral drugs or as injections. Type and dosage of insulin shot require by any patient depends on his/her severity of insulin depletion.
Let’s talk about different types of insulins.
Insulin Types for Diabetes Patients
Rapid Acting Insulin
Patients have to take rapid-acting insulin before any meal to cover the elevation of blood glucose from having food. Doctors sometimes use this type of insulin shot in combination with long-acting insulin.
Doctors recommend patients to intake short-acting insulin for half an hour before having a meal to recover the elevation of blood glucose because of eating food. In some cases, doctors recommend using insulin of this type with long-acting insulin.
Intermediate Acting Insulin
Intermediate-acting type of insulin is responsible to cover the elevations in one’s blood sugar glucose, in case rapid-acting insulin stops its functions. Doctors combine this form of insulin with the short or rapid-acting type of insulin while recommending intake of it for 2 times in a day.
When each of the aforementioned types of insulin fail to perform its functions i.e. control or manage elevations in the blood glucose or sugar levels, doctors recommend for long-acting insulin in the form of shots. Moreover, according to specific situations, doctors recommend their patients taking it by combining with rapid-acting insulin for 1 or 2 times in a day.
Side Effects of Insulin
Common Side Effects
Reactions at the site of insulin injection, such as irritation, redness or pain may take place. In case the condition becomes worse, you should intimate your doctor immediately.
Serious Side Effects
Insulin injections or dosages may sometimes cause serious side effects in the form of a low level of potassium in one’s blood, which result in weakness, muscular cramps and irregular heartbeat.
Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycemia
Insulin medicines may cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This takes place when you fail to consume calories in an adequate amount from your food or if you often indulge yourself in various heavy physical workouts. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include-
- Sudden sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Tingling feet or hands
Positively, you can manage or avoid the condition of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar with the intake of meals on regular schedule and avoid skipping any meal.
Severe But Rare Allergic Reaction
Doctors analyzing side effects of diabetes medication have said that severe type of allergic reaction caused from insulin drug or insulin shot is rare and they are-
- Swelling or itching in the areas of throat, face, and tongue
- Breathing problem
- Severe dizziness
Each of these mentioned problems/reactions require medical help immediately.
List of Medicines to Treat Type 2 Diabetes
A majority of medications to cure type 2 diabetes available in the diabetes medications chart are of oral drugs, while a few of them also come in the form of injections. Excluding this, a few people suffering from Type2 diabetes also require insulin shots/doses depending on the individual health situations.
Acarbose and miglitol are common types of Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors/medications help the body of a patient to break down various starchy food items and the table sugar. Intake of these inhibitors before having meals reduces the blood sugar levels from one’s body.
Metformin, a Common Form of Biguanides Medicine
Metformin or Biguanides reduce the amount of sugar made by your liver. In this way, such medicines decrease the exact amount of sugar, which your intestine should absorb and thereby, make the body highly sensitive to insulin, while help in absorption of glucose by your body muscles.
Side Effects of Type 2 Diabetes Medicines
Type 2 medications, as mentioned before providing plenty of options to manage the blood sugar levels. However, at the same time, regular intake of such medicines leads to a few common side effects. Considering this fact, doctors have put efforts to analyze the various side effects of diabetes medication in detail.
Side Effect of Low Blood Sugar i.e. Hypoglycemia
A few diabetes medications cause the blood glucose level in patients too much low. Doctors refer the condition as hypoglycemia and consider it dangerous. This problem often takes place with-
- Sulfonylureas medicines, such as glyburide, glimepiride, and glipizide
- Meglitinides, like repaglinide and nateglinide
Hypoglycemia condition also takes place when you intake combination treatments with the mentioned drugs-
- Pioglitazone and glimepiride
- Metformin and glyburide
- Metformin and repaglinide
Temporary and Mild Side Effects
Some side effects of diabetes medicines, particularly the Metformin are temporary and hence, they often go away within only a few weeks after patients start with drugs’ doses. These are
- Upset stomach
- Bloating and gas
- Appetite loss
- Metallic taste
- Interference with the absorption of Vitamin 12
Common Medicines causing Temporary Side Effects
- DPP-4 type of inhibitors
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
- GLP-1 agonists
Even you deal with the aforementioned type of problem/problems with the combination of any or all of the drugs. You have to consult with your doctor in case your side effects become worse or do not go away even within a few weeks.
Other Common Side Effects
Along with the aforementioned side effects, a specific category of drugs called SGLT2-inhibitors cause an entirely different type of side effects. These include-
- Frequent urination
- Yeast infections, especially among women and young girls
- Low blood pressure or hypotension condition
Severe Side Effects
If you read about the side effects of glucoside medication for diabetes, you will likely come to know about two severe side effects, which take place in some cases with the intake of Metformin and Pioglitazone medications.
Severe Side Effect of Lactic Acidosis
According to the doctors involved in the analysis of the side effects of diabetes medication metformin, higher doses of Metformin may sometimes cause a severe side effect called lactic acidosis.
Overview of Lactic Acidosis
Lactic acidosis refers to a metabolic acidosis, which starts in the human kidneys. According to the condition, kidneys fail to remove the excessive amount of acid from the body of humans. In case the formation of lactic acid takes place in one’s body quickly, it leads to the spike of acidity levels in blood and in other bodily fluids. Acid formation thus causes an imbalance in the pH level of the body and thereby, it always becomes a bit alkaline rather than acidic.
How to Deal with the Side Effect of Lactic Acidosis
You should immediately seek medical help in case you are on Metformin drug or any combination that incorporates the respective drug. Even you should intimate your doctor in case you deal with the following major symptoms-
- Appetite loss
- Diarrhea or discomfort in the abdominal areas
- Muscular cramps
- Shallow and fast breathing
- Weakness, dizziness and unusual tiredness
Other Severe Side Effects
Besides Metformin, patients deal with severe side effects from Pioglitazone medicinal drugs. Side effects caused by this medicine require an immediate appointment with your doctor. These adverse effects include:
- Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Breathing shortness
- Severe swelling or problem of edema in some cases
- Dark urination
Side Effects as Per Specific Drug/Medicine
Now, let us a have a look on side effects caused by specific drugs or medicines other than Metformin available to manage the diabetic condition in humans.
Side Effects from the Medicine of Thiazolidinediones
- Intake of Thiazolidinediones often causes
- Retention of fluids
- Liver problems
- Weight gain
- Increase in risks related to bladder cancer, fracture, and ovulation
Side Effects from the Medicine of DPP-4 inhibitors
Even though, diabetes patients tolerate DPP-4 inhibitors in a good manner, in some cases, the medicine causes-
- Retention of fluids
- Swelling in the face and in the body (edema)
- Urinary tract infections and
Side Effects from the Medicine of Sulfonylureas
Regular intake of Sulfonylureas medicine sometimes causes low blood glucose i.e. hypoglycemia and excessive weight gain. In addition, the drug also causes a few less common types of side effects, which include
- Rashes of skin
- Drop in the count of red blood corpuscles
- Upset stomach
- Liver problems
Side Effects from the Medicine of Meglitinides
Similar to the case of Sulfonylureas, Meglitinides also causes weight gain and hypoglycemia as side effects. However, the risk related to both of these problems, in this case, is relatively low as compared to Sulfonylureas.
Side Effects of Alpha-Glucosidase
Inhibitors of Alpha-Glucosidase often leads to-
- Bloating and gas problems
- Diarrhea and upset stomach
Side Effects of SGLT-2 Inhibitors
Common Side Effects
SGLT-2 Inhibitors cause a few common side effects. These include-
- Yeast infections in the vaginal region
- Yeast infections of the penis in men
- Infections in the upper respiratory tract
- Urinary tract infections and the problem of frequent urination
Other Side Effects
Besides the mentioned common side effects, SGLT-2 Inhibitor medicines also cause other reported side effects, which include-
- Dysfunction of liver and kidney
- Bladder cancer
- Increase in the level of body cholesterol
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Hypoglycemia problem when it combines with insulin or any drug intends to increase the secretion of insulin
Side Effects of the Medicine of Bile Acid Sequestrants
Bile Acid Sequestrants medicines intake results in following common side effects-
- Pain or discomfort in the stomach
- Heartburn and
Other than this, the drug causes Colesevelam, which increases the levels of triglyceride in the body of a diabetic patient.
Side Effects of the Medicine of Bromocriptine Mesylate
Bromocriptine Mesylate or simply Bromocriptine therapy causes-
- Running nose
- Sinusitis and
In conclusion, we should say that the side effects of diabetes medicines are common and rare, mild and severe. In addition, the extent of side effects depends on the specific drug and patients’ individual health conditions.