Levemir Insulin is the brand name of long lasting insulin manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Levemir is a form of insulin detemir, which a type of synthetic insulin of rDNA origin. Insulin detemir is similar to human insulin, although it has been chemically modified.
The key advantage of Levemir is that it acts up to 24 hours, with one or two injections during the day. This allows individuals to go longer between injections.
Levemir is used to help control high blood sugars type 1 (adults and children) and type 2 (typically adults only) diabetics. You can only purchase Levemir with a prescription from your doctor.
This medication is called basal insulin. This type of medication provides the body with insulin to use throughout the day, as you consume food and be active.
It even works to control blood sugar levels during the night. Basal insulin doses help your body to maintain a normal blood sugar level between the times you eat and while sleeping.
Most type 1 diabetics will also need to take Bolus insulin doses. Bolus doses are rapid acting insulin that provides insulin during meal periods.
How to Take This Insulin
Levemir comes in vials and a FlexPen. Both forms require you to inject the insulin subcutaneously. Obviously, you will need to use a new needle every time you inject the medication and you should always use a different area of your skin to do so.
One of the most important aspects of taking Levemir insulin is that it needs to be taken at the same time each day. Your doctor will tell you when to take the medication and then you will need to keep taking it at the same time each day. This type of consistency aids blood sugar control.
If you use the FlexPen, injecting can be easier and faster. It also ensures that you get correct dosing each time you take the medication. You will also use disposable needles with this method.
What You Should Know
If your doctor has prescribed this medication for you, you likely have high blood sugar levels. Normally, you will continue with other treatment recommendations, including proper diet and exercise. Additionally, you will often continue to take any your existing medications.
It goes without saying that during any insulin regimen, it is extremely important to continue to monitor your blood sugar levels. Just taking this insulin is not enough. Your body is changing as is your diet, exercise, levels, etc. Only monitoring can help avoid problems.
Other important Considerations:
- If you are hypoglycemic, or have low blood sugar, you may want to avoid taking Levemir as it will lower your blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.
- If you take your blood sugar and you have a high reading, even after taking Levemir insulin, consult your doctor.
- Remember that Levemir insulin is unable to cure diabetes or high blood sugar.
Possible Side Effects
Like most medications, Levemir does have side effects. If you have any breathing problems, develop a rash, have swelling or redness at the injection site or have other severe reactions, consult your doctor about your usage. You may be allergic.
However, the most common side effect of levemir insulin is having low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Look for the symptoms of hypoglycemia and contact your health care provider for any needed assistance.
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed January 2012.