Anti-insulin antibody test
DefinitionThe anti-insulin antibody test checks to see if your body has produced antibodies against insulin.
How the test is performedA blood sample is needed. For information on how this is usually done, see: Venipuncture
How to prepare for the testNo special preparation is necessary.
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedThis test may be performed if you have or are at risk for type 1 diabetes. It also may be done if you appear to have an allergic response to insulin, or if insulin no longer seems to control your diabetes.
Normal ValuesNormally, there are no antibodies against insulin in your blood.Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results meanIf you have IgG and IgM antibodies against insulin, your body reacts as if the insulin is foreign. This may make insulin less effective, or not effective at all.The antibodies can also change the amount of time it takes insulin to work, putting you at risk for low blood sugar. This means that the insulin cannot move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. As a result, increased levels of insulin are needed to have the same effect, which is called insulin resistance.If the test shows high levels of IgE antibody against insulin, your body has developed an allergic response to the medication. This could put you at risk for skin reactions, or more severe reactions. Other medications, such as antihistamines or low-dose injectable steroids, may help to lessen the reaction. If reactions have been severe, an in-hospital procedure called desensitization may be necessary.
What the risks areVeins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:Excessive bleedingFainting or feeling lightheadedHematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
ReferencesEisenbarth GS, Buse JB. Type 1 Diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011.