Insulin detemir (Injection)


Insulin Detemir (IN-su-lin DET-e-mir)

Helps control blood sugar levels. This medicine is a long-acting insulin.

Brand Name(s)


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to insulin detemir.

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin.
  • You may need to adjust your dose of this medicine if you increase your activity or change your diet, even for a short time.
  • Check the label before you inject the medicine to make sure it is the right type of insulin.
  • A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist should teach you how to give your insulin shots. Make sure you understand how to use the medicine and give yourself the shots.
  • Follow the special diet and use the correct dose of insulin that your doctor orders. Diet, exercise, medicine, and checking your blood sugar are important to help control your diabetes.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • If you are using a vial (bottle) of Levemir®, only use syringes that are made for giving insulin injections. Use a new syringe and needle each time you give yourself an injection. If you are using a Levemir® FlexPen®, use a new needle each time.
  • Do not use this medicine in an infusion pump and do not mix it with any other insulins.
  • The insulin solution should look clear and colorless. Do not use this medicine if it is cloudy or thick.

If a dose is missed:

  • Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you get this medicine in a vial (bottle), keep the vial in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze. If you cannot refrigerate your medicine vial, you may store it at room temperature, below 86 degrees F. The medicine will keep at room temperature for up to 42 days if protected from heat and direct light. Once you start using a vial, it can be refrigerated or kept at room temperature for 42 days.
  • If you use a prefilled FlexPen®, keep the medicine in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Once you start using a prefilled FlexPen®, keep it at room temperature, below 86 degrees F. Never store a used pen or cartridge with a needle in it, and do not store used pens or cartridges in a refrigerator. The medicine will keep for up to 42 days at room temperature if protected from heat and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you use other insulin or diabetes medicine you take by mouth (such as glipizide, glyburide, metformin, Actos®, Avandia®, or Glucotrol®). Tell your doctor if you also use disopyramide (Norpace®), fluoxetine (Prozac®), octreotide (Sandostatin®), pentoxifylline (Trental®), pramlintide (Symlin®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), blood pressure medicines (such as atenolol, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, metoprolol, propranolol, Accupril®, Inderal®, Lotrel®, Toprol®, or Zestril®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, or Tricor®), sulfa antibiotics (such as Bactrim® or Septra®), an MAO inhibitor (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®), or medicine to treat HIV or AIDS or hepatitis (such as boceprevir, lopinavir, ritonavir, telaprevir, Incivek®, Kaletra®, or Victrelis®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you use clonidine (Catapres®), danazol (Danocrine®), glucagon, guanethidine (Ismelin®), isoniazid (Nydrazid®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), niacin (Vitamin B3), pentamidine (Nebupent®), reserpine (Harmonyl®), somatropin (Nutropin®), asthma medicine or decongestants (such as albuterol, terbutaline, or Bricanyl®), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, Medrol®), diuretics (water pills, such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, torsemide, Demadex®, or Lasix®), medicine to treat mental illness (such as clozapine, olanzapine, or Zyprexa®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as prochlorperazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Thorazine®, or Trilafon®). Your doctor should know if you also use thyroid replacement medicines, estrogen hormones, or birth control pills.
  • Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol regularly.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease or liver disease.
  • You may have to use insulin detemir in combination with another type of insulin or with oral diabetes medicine to keep your blood sugar under control.
  • Never share insulin pens or cartridges with others under any circumstances. Illnesses such as hepatitis and HIV can be transmitted if you share needles.
  • You may sometimes have low blood sugar while you are using insulin. This is more likely if you miss a meal, exercise for a long time, or drink alcohol. Know the symptoms of low blood sugar, such as shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and headache. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you have low blood sugar.
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur if you do not take enough medicine, skip a dose, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise as much as usual. Know the symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst, increased urination, muscle cramps, and nausea.
  • This medicine may not work as well when your body is under stress. Call your doctor for instructions if you need to have surgery, have an injury, or get sick, especially if you have severe vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. You should not use this medicine to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • You may have some skin redness, rash, itching, or swelling at the injection site. Call your doctor if this irritation is severe or does not go away. Do not inject this medicine into a skin area that is red, swollen, or itchy.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, confusion, irritability, restlessness, or mood changes
  • Changes in vision
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea, or vomiting
  • Headache, shakiness, or hunger
  • Hot dry skin, increased urination, loss of appetite, or stomach pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, redness, itching, or swelling under your skin where the shot was given
  • Thickened or pitted skin where the shot was given

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.