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What Is Levemir Insulin?
Known as insulin detemir, Levemir pen is a long-acting human insulin analog that is used to maintain insulin levels in people with diabetes. As opposed to insulin produced naturally by those with diabetes, which is either insufficient amounts or is not properly utilized by diabetics, insulin analogs are man-made forms of insulin that act as a substitute for naturally produced insulin.
By modifying the structure of insulin analogs through genetic engineering, it can be altered in a way that alters the absorption, distribution, breakdown, and elimination of insulin from the body. A basal or background insulin analog, Levemir insulin is made by yeast and then chemically modified. It’s relatively long-lasting, so it’s good for people with diabetes.
It has been used in conjunction with bolus insulin, an insulin analog that controls blood sugar spikes at mealtimes. Additionally, it has been used as an adjunct to insulin analogs that provide a constant, entire-day regulation of blood sugar. There has been evidence to suggest that this medication has a lower risk of weight gain when compared with other insulin analogs.
What Is Levemir Insulin Used For?
Levemir (insulin detemir) is prescribed to address the following conditions:
- It is suitable for adults, adolescents, and children aged 2 and above who have type 1 diabetes.
- For adults with type 2 diabetes, Levemir pen is recommended when insulin is necessary to manage high blood sugar levels.
- It can be used alongside other oral antidiabetic medications to control type 2 diabetes in adults.
- It is also an option for adults with type 2 diabetes when combined with liraglutide and metformin.
- It can also be used alongside rapid-acting mealtime insulin to provide comprehensive blood sugar regulation throughout the day, during meals, and overnight.
Dosage for Levemir Flextouch
When starting Levemir® for insulin-naïve patients with type 2 diabetes, the initial dosage typically involves 10 units once daily or a daily dosage ranging from 0.1 to 0.2 units per kilogram with the evening meal or at bedtime.
This starting dose should be adjusted as needed based on the physician’s guidance and the patient’s fasting plasma glucose (FPG) goals, which usually target a range of 70-90 mg/dL or 80-110 mg/dL, as demonstrated in the TITRATE™ program.
Dose adjustments can be made approximately every third day, considering an average of three consecutive FPG values to achieve optimal blood sugar control. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely throughout this process.
How Does Levemir Insulin Pen Work?
The drug is used as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously) and lasts up to 24 hours depending on the dose. Basically, this is an insulin analog that lowers your blood glucose levels without spiking in effectiveness. Hence, you are able to predict your blood sugar level throughout the day more easily.
Levemir insulin pen, like naturally produced insulin in the body, regulates the breakdown of food (carbohydrates, fats & proteins) by enhancing the absorption of glucose into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells. A high concentration of insulin in the blood strongly suppresses the production of sugar, as well as the release of sugar into the blood.
Side Effects & Warning Related to Levemir Medication
Serious side effects can even lead to death, including:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Severe allergic reactions
- Low potassium in your blood (hypokalemia)
- Heart failure.
Other common side effects of insulin Levemir include:
- Injection site reactions
- Weight gain
- Swelling of your hands and feet
- Rash and itching
The symptoms of heart failure include swelling of ankles or feet, sudden weight gain, and sudden weight gain. If you experience new or worse heart failure, your healthcare provider may need to change or discontinue your treatment with Levemir®.
The effect of insulin Levemir Flextouch can be decreased or increased if you take other prescription or over-the-counter medications that may interact with it, such as albuterol, clonidine, reserpine, guanethidine, or beta-blockers. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you are presently taking, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any precautions to be taken while taking Levemir?
Levemir should not be used if you are allergic to insulin Levemir or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (ask your doctor for short-acting insulin treatment). It is always important to avoid sharing a Levemir injection pen or syringe with any other person (even if the needle has been changed).
Is it necessary to take Levemir with food?
It is important to remember that when taking Levemir once daily, you should inject the insulin at bedtime or mealtime. (If taken in smaller doses, Levemir may be considered an intermediate-acting insulin.) If taking Levemir twice daily, you should take the evening dose either when you eat at dinner, at bedtime, or 12 hours after taking the morning dose.
Do you need to refrigerate Levemir?
It is recommended that you keep your Levemir® FlexPen® in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2°C to 8°C or at a temperature below 30°C while using it or keep it at a temperature below 30°C when not in use. Whenever you refrigerate medicines, keep them away from the cooling element, do not freeze them, and never dispose of medicines in wastewater or household waste.
How does Levemir affect your weight?
A common side effect of Levemir is weight gain. This is generally a side effect that occurs when any insulin is taken, including Levemir. There have been studies showing that Levemir can cause small increases in weight in people with diabetes type 2 or type 1. This type of long-acting insulin, however, causes less gain of weight than other types of long-acting insulin.
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