What to Know When Changing Insulin Brands

What You Need to Know About Changing Insulin Brands

If you are considering switching insulin brands, there a few factors to keep in mind. There are some very good reasons to undergo a change, but there are also some risks that you may not be aware of. Blindly making the change can result in unnecessary health concerns, so read the following to better understand why you may need to switch, associated risks with undergoing such a transition and the best way to proceed with the process.


Changing brands is at times unavoidable. Your physician may recommend changing to an alternative brand with different properties, such as a different duration or peak action than your current insulin. Sometimes a specific kind is discontinued or temporarily unavailable, requiring a change to be made. Other times, side effects or allergies become too severe to continue with your current brand. In any of these cases, switching to a different kind is not just a good idea, but a necessary action to take to properly manage your diabetes.


There are, however, certain risks that accompany changing brands. Though rare, you may experience allergies or other negative side effects that you did not experience with your original type. Such reactions include itching, swelling or redness in the body area receiving the insulin injection, and in more severe instances, nausea and vomiting. This can be due to a difference in properties between the two types, and this risk is a little more prevalent in cases in which the switch was from an animal type to a synthetic one or the reverse. Additionally, your blood glucose level may become too high or too low.


While risks in such a change are generally considered rare, if proceeding with the transition from one brand to another, there are a few precautionary steps to take to ensure success. Your physician should encourage the switch in insulin, or at the very least, agree to it, and the change should be made under close medical supervision. If you experience prolonged negative side effects or allergic reactions to the new brand, tell your health care team, especially if the effects increase in intensity. Keep sources of sugar with you at all times in case your blood glucose gets too low, and monitor your levels closely to make sure your body is adjusting properly to the transition.

Many experts might advise against making a switch in brands if your current insulin is working well. However, there are some instances in which changing brands is necessary. If you have to do it, make sure you and your physician are aware of the risks and follow the recommendations when making the transition.

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