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Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2011 Dec 6;3(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-3-33.

Relapsing insulin-induced lipoatrophy, cured by prolonged low-dose oral prednisone: a case report.

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  • 1Practice of Endocrinology and Diabetology, PD Dr,Kimmerle, Aachener Str,196, 40223 Düsseldorf/Germany.



Circumscript, progressing lipoatrophy at the insulin injection sites is an unexplained, however rare condition in diabetes mellitus.


We report a case of severe localised lipoatrophy developing during insulin pump-treatment (continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion) with the insulin analogue lispro (Humalog®) in a woman with type-1 diabetes mellitus. After 11 months of progressing lipoatrophy at two spots on the abdomen, low-dose prednisone (5-10 mg) p.o. was given at breakfast for 8 months, whereby the atrophic lesions centripetally re-filled with subcutaneous fat tissue (confirmed by MRI) despite ongoing use of insulin lispro. However, 4 weeks after cessation of prednisone, lipoatrophy relapsed, but resolved after another 2 months of low-dose prednisone. No further relapse was noted during 12 months of follow-up on insulin-pump therapy with Humalog®.


Consistent with an assumed inflammatory nature of the condition, low-dose oral prednisone appeared to have cured the lipoatrophic reaction in our patient. Our observation suggests a temporary intolerance of the subcutaneous fat tissue to insulin lispro (Humalog®), triggered by an unknown endogenous mechanism.

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