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March 14, 2002

Insulin Analogs, Other Medications

Question from Anchorage, Alaska, USA:

While I was taking Glucophage, I experienced shortness of breath while doing any kind of exercise so I stopped taking the medication and the behavior slowly disappeared, but a month later I was placed on Humalog, after which the behaviors returned. In addition to the aforementioned, I am dealing with vision problems, shortness of breath,dry mouth, and heart problems. To date, I have been off the medication for three weeks. The vision problem is not as severe, but the heart problems and shortness of breath is still present. I am now told that I will have to go back on the Humalog to control after meal highs, and I also am taking Lantus (insulin glargine), as well as a medication for high blood pressure. I talked to my doctor who stated that the medication is not the problem. Are shortness of breath, dry mouth, rash and vision problems side effects of the medication?

Answer:

Dry mouth and vision problems are not specific side effects of the medicine but are side effects associated with high sugars and poor control of your diabetes. A rash can occur with any medication you take. The shortness of breath could be from your heart problem. I anticipate that you have symptoms from multiple problems. You need to work with your physician to work out what is drug-related with what is from underlying disease.

JTL