The Side Effects of Common Diabetes Medications and How to Manage Them

The Side Effects of Common Diabetes Medications and How to Manage Them

While type 1 and type 2 diabetes are different diseases, both are caused by the body’s failure to produce enough of the hormone insulin, and the high blood sugar levels that result. Healthy lifestyle choices are necessary for any diabetes treatment plan, but doctors often need to provide specialized medication to supplement lost insulin levels. It’s important to understand the possible side effects of the common diabetes medications and plan ahead to reduce their impact on your daily life.


Used to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Lantus imitates the body’s own hormones to help manage the flow of insulin. Although a valuable medication when used with a doctor’s supervision, it can have some unfortunate side effects that include:

  • Hand tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid breathing

These and other symptoms are caused by low blood sugar, which is the most common side effect of Lantus. As a diabetic, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar when they appear. Your doctor can change your dosage of Lantus or advise you about dietary changes that can help you avoid such side effects in the future.


Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that’s best taken with meals. When used as part of an effective weight control program, Metformin is known to ease the flow of blood sugar in the body and thus benefit your insulin response. Its most common side effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • An altered sense of taste

To avoid the nausea, don’t take Metformin outside of mealtimes. And be sure to take it easy the first few times you use the medication. It’s generally fine to take an anti-diarrhea medicine at the same time as Metformin, though you should run it by your doctor when you’re first prescribed to make sure that doing so will be safe for you.

Starlix and Prandin

These medications, both of which fall under the same class of drug, are often prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes to help them avoid blood sugar spikes after meals. For most people, these drugs can cause relatively minor side effects that tend to go away as the body becomes more accustomed to their use. However, call your doctor if you experience:

  • Swelling around the face or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A rash – whether it itches or not

Prandin and Starlix are sometimes known to interact with other regular medications such as birth control pills or aspirin. Be sure to provide your doctor with an accurate list of the medications you use so she can take them into account when developing your treatment plan.

Though diabetes isn’t curable, it’s possible for diabetics to manage their condition and enjoy a high quality of life despite their circumstances. Diabetes medications aid this process tremendously, but be proactive in talking through your options with your doctor. A solid understanding of the different medications available can make it easier to get the most out of them during your treatment.