NovoLog FlexPen Side Effects

Generic Name: insulin aspart

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug insulin aspart. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name NovoLog FlexPen.

It is possible that some side effects of NovoLog FlexPen may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to insulin aspart: subcutaneous solution

As well as its needed effects, insulin aspart (the active ingredient contained in NovoLog FlexPen) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking insulin aspart, check with your doctor immediately:

More common
  • Anxious feeling
  • behavior change similar to being drunk
  • blurred vision
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • depression
  • difficulty with thinking
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • excessive hunger
  • fast heartbeat
  • headache
  • irritability or abnormal behavior
  • nightmares
  • restless sleep
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or tongue
  • unconsciousness
Less common or rare
  • Depression of the skin at the place of injection
  • dryness of the mouth
  • fast or weak pulse
  • feeling of pressure, itching, redness, soreness, stinging, swelling, or tingling at the place of injection
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • mood or mental changes
  • muscle cramps or pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash or itching over the whole body
  • sweating
  • thickening of the skin at the place of injection
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to insulin aspart: subcutaneous solution

Cardiovascular

Other cardiovascular risk factors that are accentuated in persons with carbohydrate intolerance and hypertension include abnormalities in platelet function, clotting factors, the fibrinolytic system, and dyslipidemia. The relationship between diabetes, insulin, and these disorders is currently under investigation.

Insulin may contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, promoting renal sodium retention, and/or stimulating vascular smooth muscle hypertrophy. It may induce dyslipidemia by promoting hepatic synthesis of very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs).

Insulin may stimulate heart rate in the absence of hypoglycemia.

Cardiovascular side effects have included hyperinsulinemia. Given the high frequency of both microvascular and macrovascular diseases in patients with diabetes and hyperinsulinemia, some experts are evaluating insulin as a possible atherogenic agent. Controversy and continued study surround the role of hyperinsulinemia as the precursor of hypertension.

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects of insulin have included lipohypertrophy (insulin is lipogenic) and lipoatrophy (probably immunologically-mediated). The incidence of lipoatrophy has been markedly decreased with the use of purer forms of pork insulin or biosynthetic human insulin and when injection sites were alternated. Without proper hygiene, subcutaneous insulin injections has been complicated by infection.

Endocrine

Permanent neuropsychological impairment has been associated with recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycemia.

In one retrospective study of 600 randomly selected patients with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus, the only reliable predictors of severe hypoglycemia were a history of hypoglycemia, a history of hypoglycemia-related injury or convulsion, and the duration of insulin therapy. Those with a history of hypoglycemia had been treated with insulin for 17.4 years, which was significantly longer than the 14.3 years in the insulin-treated patients without a history of hypoglycemia.

Human insulin does not appear to be associated with hypoglycemic episodes more often than animal insulin. Caution is recommended when switching from animal (either bovine or pork) to purified porcine insulin or biosynthetic human insulin, however, because of increased potency or bioavailability.

Endocrine side effects have included hypoglycemia, which has been the most common and serious side effect of insulin, occurring in approximately 16% of type 1 and 10% of type II diabetic patients (the incidence varies greatly depending on the populations studied, types of insulin therapy, etc). Although there are counterregulatory endocrinologic responses to hypoglycemia, some responses have been decreased, inefficient, or absent in some patients. Severe hypoglycemia has usually presented first as confusion, sweating, or tachycardia, and has resulted in coma, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, neurological deficits, and death. Blood or urine glucose monitoring is recommended in patients who are at risk of hypoglycemia or who do not recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. The risk for developing hypoglycemia has been higher in patients receiving intensive or continuous infusion insulin therapy. The association between insulin and dyslipidemia is currently being evaluated.

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have been reported rarely. GI distress has tended to resolve after dose reduction.

General

Intensive insulin therapy causes an increase in body fat as a result of the elimination of glycosuria and reduction in 24-hour energy expenditure. The reduction in 24-h energy expenditure is the result of an insulin-associated decrease in triglyceride/free fatty acid cycling and nonoxidative glucose and protein metabolism.

General side effects have included weight gain, sometimes presenting as edema associated with abrupt restoration of glucose control in a patient whose control was previously poor. Weight gain may have been due to more efficient use of calories during insulin therapy, suggesting additional benefits of dietary and exercise modifications. Patients on intensive insulin therapy have been more likely to experience weight gain.

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects have included an increase in the concentration of von Willebrand factor due to insulin-induced hypoglycemia. Increased von Willebrand factor, combined with hypoglycemia-associated decreased plasma volume and increased plasma viscosity, may have predisposed patients to reduced peripheral perfusion or embolic phenomenon. A single case of insulin-induced hemolytic anemia has been reported.

The effects of insulin-induced hypoglycemia on hemostasis may explain some of the clinical observations of embolic phenomenon during treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Limited data show that diabetics have a significantly lower basal concentration of tissue plasminogen activator.

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity side effects have included both local and systemic reactions. These reactions are becoming rare (less than 1% of patients) due to the use of purer forms of pork insulin or biosynthetic human insulin. Local reactions have presented as erythema, swelling, heat, or subcutaneous nodules. They usually occurred within the first two weeks of therapy, then disappeared. True allergy to insulin has been rare, and sensitization was usually associated with specific animal proteins in bovine and less pure forms of porcine insulins. Severe, life-threatening, generalized allergy, including anaphylaxis, may occur with any insulin product, including insulin aspart (the active ingredient contained in NovoLog FlexPen) Anaphylactic reactions with insulin aspart have been reported post- approval. Generalized allergy to insulin may also cause whole body rash (including pruritus), dyspnea, wheezing, hypotension, tachycardia, or diaphoresis.

A diabetic patient with true allergy to insulin can undergo desensitization. Desensitization kits and protocols are available from some insulin manufacturers.

Immunologic

Immunologic side effects have included the formation of anti-insulin antibodies, particularly when animal insulin formulations were used. The presence of these antibodies caused the elimination half-life of insulin to increase.

Increases in levels of anti-insulin antibodies that react with both human insulin and insulin aspart (the active ingredient contained in NovoLog FlexPen) have been observed in patients treated with insulin aspart. These antibodies do not appear to cause deterioration in HbA1c or to necessitate increases in insulin dose.

Immunologic analysis of anaphylaxis to some insulin preparations in some cases has revealed markedly elevated serum levels of lgE and lgG to protamine, but not to regular insulin.

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects have included reports of hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia, particularly in patients treated for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Insulin increases the intracellular transport of phosphate, which often results in hypophosphatemia during treatment of DKA.

Rare cases of hypophosphatemia have been associated with the use of glucose, insulin, and potassium infusions during the treatment of myocardial infarction.

Ocular

Ocular side effects have included reports bilateral presyopia (blurry vision) during the beginning of therapy. This was thought to be due to changes in the osmotic equilibrium between the lens and the ocular fluids, and was usually self-limited.

Renal

Hypoglycemia is associated with increased plasma dopamine, epinephrine, and plasma renin activity. Acute changes in renal function during insulin-induced hypoglycemia, therefore, may result from direct stimulation of the efferent sympathetic nerves to the kidney and hormonal counterregulatory mechanisms.

Renal effects have included reports of significantly decreased renal plasma flow, glomerular filtration rate, and significantly increased urinary albumin excretion rate from insulin-induced hypoglycemia. These changes were usually reversible upon resolution of hypoglycemia.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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