Insulin is an amazing drug. It’s a life-saving drug. The discovery of insulin by Banting and Best in 1921 has been a landmark in Canadian medical history. Since then, the field has observed a lot of innovation through the development of novel insulin and technologies to monitor diabetes management. But an important aspect of insulin administration has been forgotten over the last 100 years: the impact that repeated insulin injections (a growth hormone) at the same location has on insulin absorption, effectiveness and safety, leading to a complication also known as lipohypertrophy.
Lipohypertrophy is a common complication, occurring in as high as 65% of people using insulin. ‘Lipo’ is defined as an abnormal accumulation of fat underneath the surface of the skin. The primary cause of lipohypertrophy is a lack of proper injection site rotation, which results in erratic insulin absorption, and therefore unpredictable blood sugar levels. Ensuring constantly rotating insulin injection site seems like an easy thing to do, but easier said, not as easily implemented.