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What are Insulin Detemir Side Effects, Onset, Peak Time and Duration?

What are Insulin Detemir Side Effects, Onset, Peak Time and Duration?

What is insulin detemir?

Insulin detemir, which has a brand name called Levemir, is a man made form of insulin that works the same as the hormone our bodies make naturally. This insulin works by helping glucose enter the body cells to be used or stored for energy. Insulin detemir is a long acting insulin that can be prescribed together with short acting or intermediate acting insulin. It begins to work after several hours following an injection and keeps working in the body for up to 24 hours. Levemir can be used to treat patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

How to inject

Insulin detemir should be injected subcutaneously. Your doctor will show you the best way to inject levemir. Usually, it is injected into the fat tissue of the upper arm, thigh, buttock or abdomen. Do not inject this insulin if you do not know how to properly administer it. If your doctor prescribes a short acting insulin together with insulin detemir, you should inject them separately.

Insulin detemir’s onset, peak and duration

Insulins are normally classified according to the period of time they work in the body to control your levels of blood sugar. Types of insulin include fast acting insulin, rapid acting insulin, intermediate acting insulin and long acting insulin. As mentioned above, it is a long acting insulin, which means that it works throughout the entire day to help control your blood sugar levels. To understand how this type of insulin works in the body, it is important you know the meaning of insulin onset, peak and duration of action. Insulin onset refers to how fast the insulin begins working in the body to control your blood sugar. On the other hand, an insulin’s peak refers to the time when this medication is most effective. Insulin duration refers to how long the insulin lasts and will continue working in the body. Insulin detemir has an onset of one to two hours and a peak of six to eight hours. As a long acting insulin, insulin detemir has a duration that can last up to 24 hours.

Side effects

Remember that your doctor prescribed insulin detemir because they judged that the benefit of using it outweighs the potential for side effects. However, like most drugs, levemir can result in some side effects. Some of the side effects do not require medical intervention and may go away after your body adjusts to your treatment. If the following side effects of levemir are bothersome, you should call your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Cold sweats
  • Increased hunger
  • Skin rash
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Skin redness
  • Irritation


Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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