Levemir

Generic Name: Insulin Detemir

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Levemir is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in people with diabetes. Levemir is available as a prefilled FlexPen and vials.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Your body needs insulin to turn sugar into energy. Diabetes develops when your body does not make enough insulin or does not properly use the insulin it makes. Levemir may help control your blood sugar levels by allowing blood sugar to move from your bloodstream into your cells for energy.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Lowering your blood sugar to a normal level may prevent or delay potential complications associated with diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, or heart problems. When used once or twice a day, Levemir may help control your blood sugar levels between meals and overnight for up to 24 hours.

    When: Levemir may control your blood sugar levels over the course of a day.

    How do I know it is working?

    Check your blood sugar regularly and as your healthcare provider tells you to. Your healthcare provider will also do regular blood tests to measure your blood sugar levels and your hemoglobin A1C (measures your average blood sugar levels over a 2- to 3-month period). Stay on your prescribed diet and exercise program, as this will also affect the results of your blood tests.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: low blood sugar, injection-site reactions (including redness, pain, itching, hives, or swelling).

    Symptoms of low blood sugar include: anxiety, restlessness, trouble concentrating, changes in your personality or mood, blurred vision, dizziness, shakiness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, nightmares or trouble sleeping, sweating, irritability, headache, slurred speech, fast heartbeat, unsteady walking, or tingling in your hands, feet, lips, or tongue.

    Less common side effects may include: weight gain, swelling of your hands and feet, skin thickening at the injection site.

    Serious allergic reactions with symptoms such as a rash all over your body, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, sweating, or lightheadedness.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not use Levemir if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Levemir. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney or liver problems, or are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Type 1 Diabetes

    Adults and children ≥2 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you or your child, based on daily insulin requirements.

    Type 2 Diabetes

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 units once a day or divided into a twice a day regimen.

    Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose based on your blood sugar levels.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider will adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Inject Levemir exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change the amount of Levemir you inject or stop using it without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Only use Levemir that is clear and colorless. If you see that Levemir is cloudy or slightly colored, return it to your pharmacy for a replacement.

    Inject Levemir under the skin of your abdomen (stomach area), upper arm, or upper leg. Never inject it into a vein or muscle.

    Change your injection site each time you inject Levemir to reduce the chance of getting an injection-site reaction.

    Use the proper injection technique taught to you by your healthcare provider. Read the "Patient Information" that comes with your medicine for detailed instructions.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not mix Levemir with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose control of your blood sugar levels.

    Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol may affect your blood sugar when you use Levemir.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Levemir is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Levemir may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    You can continue using Levemir during pregnancy. However, the effects of Levemir during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not miss any doses. Ask your healthcare provider for specific instructions to follow in case you ever miss a dose of insulin.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store unopened vials and FlexPens in the refrigerator (not the freezer). If you cannot refrigerate them, store at room temperature, away from direct heat and light. Throw away Levemir 42 days after it is first kept out of the refrigerator, even if the vial or FlexPen still contains insulin. Store open vials in the refrigerator. If you cannot refrigerate them, store at room temperature, away from direct heat and light. Open vials must be thrown away 42 days after being opened or removed from the refrigerator.

    Store open FlexPens at room temperature, away from direct heat and light. Open FlexPens must be thrown away after 42 days. Do not store the FlexPen with the needle attached.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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