Levemir

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Generic Name: Levemir Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Levemir® (insulin detemir) used for?

Levemir® is a man-made form of insulin, a hormone that is produced in the body. Insulin works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin detemir is a long-acting insulin that starts to work several hours after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours.

Levemir® is used to improve blood sugar control in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.

Levemir® is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.

Levemir® is also used to treat type 1 diabetes in adults and children who are at least 2 years old.

How should I take Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Use Levemir® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Levemir® is injected under the skin. You will be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

If you use Levemir® once daily, use the injection at your evening meal or at bedtime. If you use the medicine twice daily, use your evening dose at least 12 hours after your morning dose.

Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject Levemir®. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Your doctor may want you to use a short-acting insulin in addition to Levemir®. Always inject your insulins separately. Levemir® must not be given with an insulin pump, or mixed with other insulins. Do not inject Levemir into a vein or a muscle.

If you use an injection pen, use only the injection pen that comes with Levemir®. Attach a new needle before each use. Do not transfer the insulin from the pen into a syringe.

Never share an injection pen or syringe with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.

Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof “sharps” disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.

Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.

Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination, blurred vision, headache, and tiredness.

Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your insulin dose or schedule.

Levemir® is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, regular blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.

How do I store Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Keep Levemir® in its original container protected from heat and light. Do not draw insulin from a vial into a syringe until you are ready to give an injection. Do not freeze insulin or store it near the cooling element in a refrigerator. Throw away any insulin that has been frozen.

Storing unopened (not in use) Levemir®:

  • Refrigerate and use until expiration date.
  • Store at room temperature and use within 42 days.

Storing opened (in use) Levemir®:

  • Store the vial in a refrigerator or at room temperature and use within 42 days.
  • Store the injection pen at room temperature (do not refrigerate) and use within 42 days. Do not store the injection pen with a needle attached.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Levemir® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • You are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Levemir® should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old. Levemir® should not be used to treat type 2 diabetes in a child of any age.

To make sure Levemir® is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia)
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment)

Tell your doctor if you also take pioglitazone or rosiglitazone (sometimes contained in combinations with glimepiride or metformin). Taking certain oral diabetes medicines while you are using Levemir® may increase your risk of serious heart problems.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Levemir® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Levemir®. Levemir® is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of insulin allergy to Levemir®: redness or swelling where an injection was given, itchy skin rash over the entire body, trouble breathing, fast heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out, or swelling in your tongue or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Fluid retention – weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet, feeling short of breath
  • Low potassium – leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling

Common side effects may include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Itching, mild skin rash
  • Thickening or hollowing of the skin where you injected the medicine

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Levemir® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Levemir® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Levemir® (insulin detemir)?

Levemir® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Levemir® (insulin detemir).

What is the dose of Levemir® (insulin detemir) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Dose should be individualized based on clinical response; this basal insulin should be used in regimens with short-acting insulin.

Initial dose: One-third the total daily insulin requirement subcutaneously once a day or in divided doses twice a day.

Once daily dosing should be administered with the evening meal or at bedtime; twice daily dosing should be given morning and evening; the evening dose may be given with dinner, at bedtime, or 12 hours after the morning dose.

Maintenance dose: Adjust according to metabolic needs, blood glucose measurements, and glycemic goals.

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Dose should be individualized based on clinical response

Insulin-naive: Initial dose: 10 units (or 0.1 to 0.2 units/kg) subcutaneously once a day or in divided doses twice a day

For patients inadequately controlled on a GLP-1 receptor agonist: Initial dose: 10 units subcutaneously once a day

Maintenance dose: Adjust according to metabolic needs, blood glucose measurements, and glycemic goals

What is the dose of Levemir® (insulin detemir) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 1:

Age: 2 years or older:

Dose should be individualized based on clinical response; this basal insulin should be used in regimens with short-acting insulin.

Initial dose: One-third the total daily insulin requirement subcutaneously once a day or in divided doses twice a day

Once daily dosing should be administered with the evening meal or at bedtime; twice daily dosing should be given morning and evening; the evening dose may be given with dinner, at bedtime, or 12 hours after the morning dose

Maintenance dose: Adjust according to metabolic needs, blood glucose measurements, and glycemic goals

How is Levemir® (insulin detemir) available?

Levemir® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Injection, solution: insulin detemir 100[iu] in 1mL

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Levemir®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 22, 2017 | Last Modified: September 2, 2017

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