May be allergic to insulin

Hi. I have been reading with interest your blogs about being allergic to insulin. I am a type 1 diabetic...diagnosed at 35. I have been on a pump (most recently MiniMed REvel) for close to 10 years. I first started having problems with the CGM...getting irritation and the occasional boil at the insertion site. My endo would relentlessly urge me to use the CGM so that I could better control my overnight GB's. I told him that I would often get irritation at the site and that I was not willing to change more than every 3 days.

About 3 years ago, i was frequently getting boils when I would change out my infusion sets for the pump. (Using Sof-Sensor at the time). I switched to the Sure-T, thinking that perhaps I was sensitive to the plastic cannula. The metal cannulas worked for atime. When I started developing boils again, I went to a dermatologist who recommended I pretreat the insertion sites wit Chlorhexadine Gluconate. That seemed to smooth things out for about a year.

Recently, I started getting boils again on a regular basis. It reinforced my thinking that this was an allergic reaction and perhaps an allergy to the insulin I was taking (Novolog). An allergist diagnosed me with a whole slew of allergies and put me on a routine which involves taking an antihistamine. He also consulted my endo. I got off the pump, switched to Humolog and Lantus. I find my fasting BG's are edging up again. The swelling and irritation at the injection sites has reduced, but not gone away entirely. I read on one of your posts about both having success and not having success with newer insulins. What about older insulins? I'd go back to a short-acting insulin if that made a difference. Ultimately, i'd like to go back on the pump, but can't now, obviously.

Does anyone know if this issue (allergies to insulins) is being studied anywhere and is there reliable info to be read somewhere? I have empathy for all you who are going through this. And look forward to hearing from you.


I don't know much of it but back in the 80's when the artificial stuff came in, there was a lot of folks who had issues with it. They kept using pig or cow based insulin instead, on a side note they were always better at giving hypo signals anyhow than the early artificial insulins. Those are pretty rare to get your hands on these days, and some now think these are probably more easy to be allergic to due to coming from animals than the supposedly closer to human artificial ones.

Really though, discussions like that would probably be best done between your allergy specialist and your endo to try and find something which would work. There might be a artificial one which isn't brewed in the usual bacterial toilets they make insulin in, or using a different strain of bacteria for the growth.

I wish I knew! I also get boils from MiniMed sites. I switched to Sure-T (and in my legs mostly) and that helped for awhile. then I kept getting "no delivery" and some irritation, so I went off the pump.

I might try a different brand of pump... But I never tried Chlorhexadine Gluconate, I wonder if that will help. I would like to be on a working pump for my second pregnancy, but need to figure this all out!

When you went to your dermatologist, did you have any boils at that time?