What is Levemir?
Levemir (insulin detemir) is a man-made form of insulin that helps manage blood glucose levels in adults and children (over the age of 2) with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes.
Levemir has not been studied on children under the age of 2 with type 1 diabetes and adults under the age of 18 with type 2 diabetes.
Levemir is a long-acting insulin that begins working within hours of injection and continues to work for up to 24 hours.
Levemir is used as part of a treatment for diabetes that should also include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Follow the instructions provided by your doctor or diabetes instructor for best results.
Levemir is available in two forms:
Levemir insulin vials contain 10 mL of drug solution, with 100 units of insulin detemir per mL. It requires a syringe for injection. Needles are sold separately and sometimes require a prescripton depending on the state.
Levemir FlexTouch Prefilled Pens
The Levemir Flextouch pen contains 3 mL of solution with 100 units of insulin detemir per mL.
As with any insulin, side effects may occur. A side effect is defined as an unwanted symptom that occurs when medication is taken in regular dosages.
Levemir may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below do not include all possible side effects.
Discuss risks, side effects and how to deal with side effects with your doctor and pharmacist prior to starting treatment.
Common side effects:
- allergic reactions
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- injection site reactions
- lipodystrophy (changes in skin thickness at site of injection)
- swelling of your hands and feet
- weight gain
Serious side effects:
Serious side effects are rare however can occur. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any serious side effects. If you feel the symptoms are life threatening, seem medical emergency and call 911.
As with taking any insulin, hypoglycemia may occur while taking Levemir and in rare cases can be severe.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include:
- loss of consciousness (individual cannot respond to touch or sound)
- feeling faint or dizzy
- cold sweat
- not able to concentrate
Consult your doctor immediately if you experience severe hypoglycemia or call 911 if you feel the symptoms are life threatening.
Some people may have an allergic reaction while taking Levemir This can happen if they are allergic to any of its ingredients.
Mild allergic reactions may show symptoms that include:
- flushing (reddening or warming of the skin)
- skin rash
Severe allergic reactions may show symptoms that include:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat
- swelling under the skin (usually lips, hands, feet or eyelids)
Seek medical attention immediately you you are experiencing severe allergic reactions to Levemir. If you feel the symptoms are life threatening call 911.
Weight gain or weight loss
Weight fluctuation may occur while taking insulin. Patients who take Levemir tend to gain less weight in comparison to other insulin.
In clinical studies, adults with type 1 diabetes who took Levemir gained an average of 0.4 to 1.1 pounds. In comparison, people who took insulin NPH gained 0.7 to 1.8 lb. Those who took insulin glargine (Lantus) gained an average of 2.2 lb.
Patients with type 2 diabetes who took Levemir gained an average of 1.1 to 2.4 lb, patients who took insulin NPH gained 2.65 to 6.17 lb.