Insulin detemir is used with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Insulin detemir is a man-made product that is similar to human insulin. It replaces the insulin that your body would normally make. It acts longer than regular insulin, providing a low, steady level of insulin. It works by helping blood sugar (glucose) get into cells so your body can use it for energy. Insulin detemir may be used with a shorter-acting insulin product. It may also be used alone or with other diabetes drugs (such as metformin, exenatide).
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, diabetes educator, or pharmacist. Learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional and the product package. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the insulin. Insulin detemir should be clear and colorless. Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. Change where you inject each time to lessen the risk of problems or damage under the skin (for example, pits/lumps or thickened skin). Insulin detemir may be injected in the stomach area, the thigh, or the back of the upper arm. Do not inject into a vein or muscle because very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may occur. Do not rub the area after the injection. Do not inject into skin that is red, swollen, itchy, or damaged. Do not inject cold insulin because this can be painful. The insulin container you are currently using can be kept at room temperature (see also Storage section). Do not shake the container. Inject this medication under the skin as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. Insulin detemir is usually injected with the evening meal or at bedtime. If you are using it twice a day, inject as directed by your doctor, usually your first dose in the morning and your second dose with the evening meal, at bedtime, or 12 hours after the morning dose. This product should not be mixed with any other insulin. Do not use insulin detemir in an infusion pump. Do not change brands or types of insulin without directions on how to do so from your doctor. Do not share your pen device with another person, even if the needle is changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Measure each dose very carefully because even small changes in the amount of insulin may have a large effect on your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your doctor. Keep track of your results and share them with your doctor. This is very important in order to determine the correct insulin dose. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (your blood sugar is too high or too low).
Injection site reactions (such as pain, redness, irritation) and swelling of the hands/feet may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of low potassium level in the blood (such as muscle cramps, weakness, irregular heartbeat). This medication can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This may occur if you do not consume enough calories from food or if you do unusually heavy exercise. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal. Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
It is best to refrigerate all unopened insulin products. Unopened insulin detemir may also be stored at room temperature, but it must be thrown away after 42 days. Opened insulin detemir vials may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Opened insulin detemir cartridges and pens can only be stored at room temperature and should not be refrigerated. Throw away all insulin detemir in use after 42 days, even if there is insulin left. Also throw away all insulin products after the expiration date on the package. Do not freeze and do not use insulin that has been frozen. Protect insulin from light and heat. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. A product that may interact with this drug is: rosiglitazone. Beta-blocker medications (such as metoprolol, propranolol, glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may prevent the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness, hunger, or sweating, are unaffected by these drugs. Many drugs can affect your blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Before you start, stop, or change any medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how the medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor about the results and of any symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See also Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: signs of low blood sugar such as sweating, shakiness, loss of consciousness, fast heartbeat.