Diabetes Home > Insulin Pump Side Effects

Although many people do not develop problems while using an insulin pump, side effects are possible. Since the device is used to deliver insulin, it can cause side effects just like any other form of insulin. Potential side effects include low blood sugar, high blood sugar, and a skin reaction or infection at the site of the needle or cannula.

An Introduction to Insulin Pump Side Effects

Insulin pumps are devices used to provide insulin. Therefore, they can cause side effects just like any other form of insulin. Like all insulin products, the most dangerous side effects of insulin pumps are usually related to low blood sugar.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with insulin pumps. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of side effects with you.)

Possible Side Effects With Insulin Pumps

Possible insulin pump side effects include:
  • A skin reaction at the site of the needle or cannula
  • Infections at the site of the needle or cannula
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • High blood sugar levels (usually due to pump malfunction or problems with the cannula, needle, or tubing).
Some side effects with insulin pumps are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. Some of the warning signs of these side effects include:
  • Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), caused by prolonged high blood sugar:
    • Increased thirst and urination
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Labored breathing
    • Fruity, sweet-smelling breath
    • Fever
    • Confusion
    • Unconsciousness
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar, such as:
    • Changes in behavior, including irritability or mood swings
    • Loss of coordination
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Sweating
    • Dizziness
    • Cold sweats
    • Shakiness
    • Extreme hunger
    • Blurry vision
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Unconsciousness
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing or other difficulty breathing.
Make sure those around you know how to recognize your particular signs of low blood sugar, since you may be too confused (due to low blood sugar) to recognize and adequately respond. Different people may have different signs of low blood sugar.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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