What is insulin detemir?
Insulin detemir is a man-made form of a hormone that is produced in the body. It works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin detemir is a long-acting form of insulin that is slightly different from other forms of insulin that are not man-made.
Insulin detemir is used to treat diabetes in adults and children.
Insulin detemir may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to insulin, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Before using insulin detemir, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease, or any disorder of your thyroid, adrenal, or pituitary glands.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including any oral (taken by mouth) diabetes medications.
Insulin detemir is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, foot care, eye care, dental care, and testing your blood sugar. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Changing any of these factors can affect your blood sugar levels.
Your doctor will need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medication is harmful to an unborn baby. Before using insulin detemir, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether insulin detemir passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not change the brand of insulin detemir or syringe you are using without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Avoid drinking alcohol. Your blood sugar may become dangerously low if you drink alcohol while using insulin detemir.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An insulin overdose can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include extreme weakness, blurred vision, sweating, trouble speaking, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, seizure (convulsions), or coma.
Follow your doctor’s directions if you miss a dose of insulin.
It is important to keep insulin detemir on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of insulin allergy: itching skin rash over the entire body, wheezing, trouble breathing, fast heart rate, sweating, or feeling like you might pass out.
Call your doctor if you have a serious side effect such as:
- swelling in your hands or feet; or
- low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling).
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is the most common side effect of insulin detemir. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include headache, nausea, hunger, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, fast heartbeat, sweating, tremor, trouble concentrating, confusion, or seizure (convulsions). Watch for signs of low blood sugar. Carry a piece of non-dietetic hard candy or glucose tablets with you in case you have low blood sugar.
Tell your doctor if you have itching, swelling, redness, or thickening of the skin where you inject insulin detemir.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Using certain medicines can make it harder for you to tell when you have low blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you use any of the following:
- albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin);
- clonidine (Catapres);
- guanethidine (Ismelin); or
- beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), timolol (Blocadren), and others.
There are many other medicines that can increase or decrease the effects of insulin detemir on lowering your blood sugar. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.
Levemir, Levemir FlexPen, Levemir InnoLet, Levemir PenFill, and insulin detemir
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