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insulin detemir (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using insulin detemir (Levemir, Levemir FlexPen)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to insulin detemir, or if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with a short-acting insulin).

To make sure you can safely take insulin detemir, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, or if you are taking any other medications.

FDA pregnancy category B. Insulin detemir is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether insulin detemir passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use insulin detemir (Levemir, Levemir FlexPen)?

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your blood sugar will need to be checked often, and you may need other blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

Insulin detemir is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes. If you use this medicine once daily, use the injection at your evening meal or at bedtime. If you use the medicine twice daily, use your evening dose at least 12 hours after your morning dose.

Your doctor may want you to use a short-acting insulin in addition to insulin detemir. Always inject your insulins separately. Do not mix or dilute insulin detemir with any other insulin. Do not use an insulin pump.

Insulin detemir should be thin, clear, and colorless. Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Choose a different place in your injection skin area each time you use this medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Never share an injection pen or cartridge with another person. Sharing injection pens or cartridges can allow disease such as hepatitis or HIV to pass from one person to another.

Needles may not be included with the injection pen. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which brand and type of needle to use with the pen. Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them: headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, or trouble concentrating.

Always keep a source of sugar available in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. If you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection. Be sure your family and close friends know how to help you in an emergency.

Also watch for signs of blood sugar that is too high (hyperglycemia). These symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, and weight loss.

Check your blood sugar carefully during a time of stress or illness, if you travel, exercise more than usual, drink alcohol, or skip meals. These things can affect your glucose levels and your dose needs may also change.

Your doctor may want you to stop taking insulin detemir for a short time if you become ill, have a fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency.

Ask your doctor how to adjust your insulin detemir dose if needed. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

Storing unopened vials or injection pens: Keep in the carton and store in a refrigerator, protected from light. Throw away any insulin not used before the expiration date on the medicine label.

Unopened vials or injection pens may also be stored at room temperature for up to 42 days, away from heat and bright light.

Storing vials after your first use: Keep the "in-use" vials in a refrigerator or at room temperature.

Storing injection pens after your first use: Keep the "in-use" injection pens at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

Throw away any insulin detemir kept at room temperature and not used within 42 days.

Do not freeze insulin detemir, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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