Insulin Detemir (IN-su-lin DET-e-mir)
Treats diabetes mellitus. This medicine is a long-acting insulin.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
Levemir, Levemir FlexPen
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to insulin detemir.
How to Use This Medicine
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- A healthcare provider should also teach you how to give insulin shots. Make sure you understand how to use the medicine and give yourself the shots.
- You may need to adjust your dose of this medicine if you increase your activity or change your diet, even for a short time.
- When you get a new supply of insulin, check the label to be sure it is the correct type of insulin. Do not change the brand of your insulin unless your doctor tells you to.
- You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
- Levemir® vial (bottle): Use only a syringe that is made for insulin injections. Use a new syringe and needle each time you give yourself an injection.
- Levemir® FlexPen®: Use a new needle each time you give an injection.
- Do not use this medicine in an infusion pump. Do not mix it with any other insulins.
- The insulin solution should look clear and colorless. Do not use this medicine if it is cloudy or thick.
If a dose is missed:
- Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Vial (bottle): Keep the vial in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze. If you cannot refrigerate your medicine vial, you may store it at room temperature, below 86 degrees F. The medicine will keep at room temperature for up to 42 days if protected from heat and direct light. Once you start using a vial, it can be refrigerated or kept at room temperature for 42 days.
- FlexPen®: Keep the medicine in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Once you start to use a pen, keep it at room temperature, below 86 degrees F. Never store a used pen or cartridge with a needle in it. The medicine will keep for up to 42 days at room temperature if protected from heat and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Some medicines can change the amount of insulin you need to use and make it harder for you to control your diabetes. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using an oral medicine for blood sugar control (a thiazolidinedione medicine, such as pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, Actos®, Actoplus Met®, Avandia®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you use disopyramide (Norpace®), fluoxetine (Prozac®), octreotide (Sandostatin®), pentoxifylline (Trental®), pramlintide (Symlin®), blood pressure medicine (such as atenolol, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, metoprolol, propranolol, Accupril®, Inderal®, Lotrel®, Toprol®, Zestril®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, Tricor®), a sulfa antibiotic (such as Bactrim® or Septra®), an MAO inhibitor (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®), medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as lopinavir, ritonavir, Kaletra®), or medicine to treat hepatitis C (such as boceprevir, telaprevir, Incivek®, Victrelis®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you use clonidine (Catapres®), danazol (Danocrine®), glucagon, guanethidine (Ismelin®), isoniazid (Nydrazid®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), niacin (vitamin B3), pentamidine (Nebupent®), reserpine, somatropin (Nutropin®), asthma medicine (such as albuterol, terbutaline), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, Medrol®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as promethazine, Phenergan®, Thorazine®), thyroid medicine, or birth control pills.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicine that might lower the potassium levels in your blood, such as a diuretic (water pill).
- Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure, or hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood).
- You may have to use insulin detemir in combination with another type of insulin or with oral diabetes medicine to keep your blood sugar under control.
- You might sometimes have low blood sugar while you are using insulin. This is more likely if you miss a meal, exercise for a long time, or drink alcohol.
- You might sometimes have high blood sugar if you miss a dose, do not take enough insulin, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, or do not exercise as much as usual.
- This medicine may not work as well when your body is under stress. Call your doctor for instructions if you have surgery, have an injury, or get sick, especially if you have severe vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. You should not use this medicine to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.
- You may have some skin redness, rash, itching, or swelling at the injection site. Call your doctor if this irritation is severe or does not go away. Do not inject this medicine into a skin area that is red, swollen, or itchy.
- The use of insulin together with oral diabetes medicines called TZDs (thiazolidinediones) can cause your body to retain too much water. This could make congestive heart failure worse, or it could lead to heart failure. Call your doctor if you have trouble breathing, rapid weight gain, or swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Never share insulin pens or cartridges with other people under any circumstances. It is not safe. Sharing needles or pens can transmit hepatitis, HIV, and other blood-borne illnesses.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, uneven heartbeat
- Fast or pounding heartbeat, sweating
- Hunger, trembling
- Increased thirst
- Mood changes
- Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
- Trouble breathing, cold sweat, bluish-colored skin
- Urinating more or more often than normal
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Blurred vision or trouble seeing
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
- Redness, itching, swelling, or any changes in your skin where the shot is given