What You Should Know About Levemir and Gestational Diabetes
What is Levemir?
Levemir, also known as insulin detemir, is a long-acting basal insulin analog. It has a 24-hour duration of action and is made from the bacteria Saccharomyces cerevisiae through a chemical modification process.
Why is it used?
It is used primarily for treating adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it can also be considered for pregnant women. For patients with gestational diabetes, it can suppress the elevation of blood sugar levels after meals when combined with short-acting bolus insulin that is given just prior to meal times.
Using Levemir for gestational diabetes
The initial treatment of gestational diabetes tends to involve dietary modifications. If their blood sugar levels are still high, it usually signals the requirement of insulin treatment, as the benefits mostly outweigh the risks associated with this medication. High blood sugar levels during pregnancy have a significant effect on the development of organs and the overall well-being of the fetus. Its efficacy for administration in pregnant women was assessed in a clinical trial involving 310 pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.
In the study, one group of 152 women were given Levemir, while another group of 158 women were given NPH insulin (intermediate-acting insulin agent). After measuring their blood sugar levels during their second and third trimester, it was found that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Their results were comparable with similar outcomes in the pregnant women.
Are there any risks when using Levemir?
Hypoglycemia is a common side effect of insulin therapy. This condition occurs when blood sugar levels drop, and bodily functions cannot be supported. Beneficially, Levemir poses no extra risk for hypoglycemia while still maintaining efficacy as a long-acting basal insulin. Additionally, studies so far have not demonstrated any difference between Levemir and human insulin in respect to toxicity towards a developing embryo or fetus. As a side note, insulin requirements are usually lower during the first trimester than the second and third trimesters; therefore, dosing adjustments are required as the pregnancy develops.