Skin rash due to insulin?

My 14yr old daughter was diagnosed with type 1, 11 days ago. She has been put on a regimen which includes Humalog based on carbs and 36 units of Lantus at night. When she was diagnosed she was hospitalized due to being in DKA and put on insulin drip. Drip lasted about 15 hours followed by 2 more days hospitalization for monitoring and education. We barley made it out of the hospital parking lot before she started complaining about being itchy. she does have a history of moderate eczema and very sensitive skin. I attributed the itching to different fabrics and laundry soap used during our hospital stay. Since being home the itchiness has reduced but she has developed a red bumpy rash without itch on her face. It is starting to spread to her stomach and now upper thighs near her most recent injection site.

My question is - is this normal? I tried researching and discovered that rash is listed as a side effect for both Lantus and Humalog. when I called the Endocrinologist they did not seem concerned and referred me to our PCC. PCC recommended cortisone cream. Not seeing any results with that treatment. suggestions?

hi @Tabathatafoya,

there are so many reasons why your daughter could have a rash that I urge you to try make a visit to a dermatologist, or the PCP as soon as possible. T1d is an autoimmune dysfunction. so is eczema and other allergies to some extent.

a systemic allergic reaction to insulin is rare and dangerous. most of the reactions that people see are “local” including red bumps and localized itching.

cortisone works, but it can increase a person’s insulin resistance (leading to very high blood sugar), oral or injected steroids are usually the toughest for us to work with. I tend to try antihistamines before a steroid when possible. good luck I hope your daughter feels better soon!

Thanks for the respone. I am the human resources director for a medical facility so I am lucky to have a lot of very qualified resources available. They suggested zeyrtec and that seems to be working.

I had a similar experience 18 years ago when I first went on insulin. My skin would get very hot to the touch, and a visible red rash would spread out from my joints primarily (where the skin is thinnest - knees, elbows, ankles, wrists, ears, nose…). Sometimes there was a red ring around the most recent injection site, sometimes there wasn’t.

I was in university at the time and was back on campus the first time it happened (about a week after I got out of the hospital). I went to the health clinic on campus who didn’t do much other than observe the reaction. It didn’t seem to be life threatening (no swelling, no difficulty breathing), so they mostly told me to watch the reactions closely.

Reactions continued several times per week, usually, but not always, between breakfast and lunch. At the time (it was 1997) I was taking Humulin R and Humulin NPH. I started taking antihistamines but later learned that the reactions went away on their own at the same rate with or without the antihistamine.

When I was back at home over the summer, I went to an allergy clinic at the hospital where I was diagnosed. They were also able to observe a reaction come on and go away on it’s own after about 30 min-1hr. They tested me for all sorts of things, especially for elements in the NPH. Nothing was conclusive.

After about 5 months, the reactions started getting farther apart until they finally disappeared. My last one was about 7 or 8 months after diagnosis. I never got any answers as to what was causing the reactions or if anything could be done to prevent them. Since they didn’t seem dangerous to my health, my health care providers simply shrugged. I basically just had to suffer through it until the reactions stopped.

Sorry not to be more helpful other than to say I had a similar experience.

My guess would be that blood sugar fluctuations are affecting the already inflamed skin.

I know that when I eat wheat, my plaque psoriasis spots become itchy. And when my blood sugar is going up or going down, those spots become itchy then as well.

Doesn’t rule out the insulins as being factors, though.

How is she doing now, after another month?

Have y’all considered her going on an insulin pump?