What is Levemir?

Levemir is a type of diabetes medication known as insulin (a naturally-occurring hormone made by pancreatic beta cells). It is formulated with insulin detemir of rDNA origin (a recombinant insulin analogue) as the active ingredient. Being a long-acting insulin, this medication helps to manage blood sugar levels in adult and pediatric patients who have diabetes mellitus. It is believed that Levemir exerts its hypoglycemic effects by mimicking the basal levels of insulin.

Levemir injection site reactions

As with all other injections, Levemir has a risk of causing injection sites reactions.

An injection sites reaction is commonly characterized by symptoms such as:

  • inflammation,
  • edema,
  • urticaria or hives,
  • localized erythema (redness),
  • pruritus,
  • pain.

According to clinical studies, around 0.25% of adult patients treated with Levemir reported pain at the injection sites. In contrast, injection site pain occurred in only 0.12% of patients who used NPH insulin. While relatively common, these injection site reactions tend to be short lived and self-limiting. They will typically resolve themselves in several days or weeks. In most cases, injection site reactions do not necessitate cessation of treatment. Additionally, subcutaneous injection of insulin injection can potentially cause cutaneous complications such as lipohypertrophy and lipoatrophy. Using the same injection site repeatedly may lead to an increased risk of lipoatrophy.

To reduce the risk of reactions, it is recommended to rotate the injection sites within a designated area. The risk of lipoatrophy can be decreased by changing the delivery mode of insulin or by injecting into the edge of the area. Co-administration of insulin with dexamethasone may also help to reduce the risk of cutaneous complications. Keep in mind that other factors such as poor injection technique may result in injection sites reaction. Apart from that, skin cleansers that contain an irritant could also result in these allergic reactions.

Apart from local allergic reactions, Levemir could also cause systemic allergies. This includes (but not limited to) hypotension, bronchospasm, angioedema, generalized skin reactions, and anaphylaxis. These severe, but rare, adverse reactions can be life-threatening. Seek medical attention right away if any if these symptoms occur.

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.