Endocrine System Home > Drug Interactions With Regular Insulin

A number of medications can cause drug interactions with regular insulin, including salicylates, MAOIs, and sulfa drugs. These interactions can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can become very dangerous quickly. In order to help reduce your risk of regular insulin interactions, let your healthcare provider know any time you start, stop, or change the dose of any other medication.

Drug Interactions With Regular Insulin: An Overview

Regular insulin (Humulin® R, Novolin® R) is identical to the insulin hormone produced naturally in the human body. As a result, regular insulin does not "interact" with other medications, at least in the traditional sense. However, many medications can affect blood sugar and may, therefore, be considered to interact with regular insulin.
 
Many of these potential drug interactions are dangerous, while others are less significant. Some interactions may increase blood sugar levels, which is not healthy, but is usually not dangerous right away (although extremely high blood sugar can be dangerous if left untreated). These drug interactions are not discussed in this article. Typically, such interactions are discovered (by regular blood sugar monitoring) and managed before any problems occur.
 
Other regular insulin drug interactions can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), which can become quite dangerous very quickly. Some of the medicines that may cause dangerously low blood sugar when combined with regular insulin include:
 
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), such as

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as:

 

 

 

    • Aspirin (Ecotrin®, Bayer®, Anacin®)
    • Choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate®)
    • Diflunisal (Dolobid®)
    • Salsalate (Salflex®, Disalcid®, Amigesic®)

 

  • Sulfonamide antibiotics ("sulfa drugs"), such as:

 

    • Sulfadiazine
    • Sulfadoxine (Fansidar®)
    • Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim®, Septra®)
    • Sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin®).
 

 

Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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