In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for insulin detemir, trade name LevemirTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Insulin detemir is a synthetic form of insulin very much like human insulin. This medication is used to help control blood sugar in people with Type 1 diabetes. Insulin detemir is a long-acting insulin and may be used with shorter-acting insulins to treat type 1 diabetes and may also be used with oral diabetic medications to treat type 2 diabetes.
This medication is only part of a complete treatment program which may also include exercise, diet, and other medications. Changing any of these factors may affect your blood sugar levels.
Maintaining proper sugar level in your body helps prevent nerve damage, kidney problems, vision difficulties, decreases heart attack and stroke risk and helps maintain sexual function.
Insulin is injected under the skin and not into your muscle or vein. You may inject under the skin of your abdomen, thigh, or back of upper arm. Injecting this medication by any method other than the subcutaneous route may lead to a fast and dangerous drop in blood sugar
Insulin detemir is available in both a traditional insulin vial or in a multi-dose injection pen. Do not inject yourself with this medication until you understand exactly how to handle a syringe or operate the injection pen device. If you are using the pen, ask your pharmacist or doctor to show you how it works and read the User Manual that comes with the package.
Usually, this insulin is given once daily with the evening meal or at bedtime. If your doctor instructs you to use this insulin twice daily, use the first dose in the morning and the second dose at either dinner, bedtime, or 12 hours after the first dose. Do not use a dose if your blood sugar is currently low.
Measure your dose carefully because even small changes in your dose may have a big effect on your blood sugar level. Ask your doctor what you should do if you miss a dose of your insulin detemir.
Unopened vials or insulin pens should be stored in the refrigerator. Your open insulin vial may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Your open insulin pen may only be stored at room temperature. Discard all insulin detemir 42 days after its first use.
Check your blood sugar regularly and keep a record of the readings so you may share them with your doctor. If you have any high or low readings, please notify your healthcare provider.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include shaking, sweating, increased heartbeat, blurred vision, tingling in hands and feet and hunger. Most often, low blood sugar will occur following heavy exercise, low-calorie intake, or heavy alcohol intake.
Symptoms of high blood sugar include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, rapid breathing, and a fruity breath odor. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Diabetes education training programs help you understand diabetes and all the treatment and monitoring that goes along with it. Call your local hospital and ask them when the next diabetes education program is being offered.
Warnings & Cautions
- Carry glucose tablets with you in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. In an emergency, table sugar, orange juice, or any other form of sugar will help raise your blood sugar. Make sure your close friends and family understand how to help you when you experience low blood sugar.
- You may need to check your blood sugar more often when you have a fever, infection, exercise more than usual, skip a meal, drink alcohol or any other event that stresses your body. Children and older adults may be much more sensitive to the low blood sugar effects of this medication. Ask your doctor how you should adjust your dose if your blood sugar is high or low.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely.
- Using alcohol may increase the chance of low blood sugar. Limit alcoholic beverages while taking insulin detemir.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all of your medication allergies so they may determine if insulin detemir is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any heart, liver or kidney disease, undernourishment, or a history of any other health conditions.
- While taking insulin detemir, you may feel some pain at the injection site, sore muscles, headache, a rash or possibly some weight gain. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you begin to experience any symptoms of infection such as sore throat or fever, unusual tiredness, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine or any other unwanted or unusual side effect.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.