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What is Levemir Insulin?

Levemir is the trade name for insulin detemir, which is a long-acting human insulin analog used for the maintenance of insulin levels. Insulin analogs are man-made forms of insulin used as a substitute for naturally produced insulin, which, in those who have diabetes, is either not produced in sufficient amounts, or it is not being used properly. Through genetic engineering the structure of insulin analogs is slightly modified to change either its absorption, distribution, breakdown, or elimination from the body. Levemir is produced by a process that uses yeast to grow the insulin, which is then modified chemically. It is a basal, or background insulin analog, which means that it is relatively long lasting. It may sometimes be used together with a bolus, or mealtime insulin, which is a rapid-acting insulin analog used to control mealtime blood sugar level spikes, and as a compliment with longer lasting insulin analogs to provide a constant, whole-day regulation of blood sugar. This medication has been associated with lower risks of weight gain than other insulin analogs.

What is it used for?

Levemir (insulin detemir) is used for the treatment of:

  • Type 1 diabetes in adults, adolescents and children 2 years old and over
  • Type 2 diabetes in adults when insulin is required for the regulation of high blood sugar
  • Type 2 diabetes in combination with other oral antidiabetic agents in adults
  • Type 2 diabetes in combination with liraglutide and metformin

It is also recommended for use together with a rapid-acting mealtime insulin to help regulate blood sugar levels all day and night, as well as between and during meals.

How does Levemir work?

The drug is used as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously) and lasts up to 24 hours depending on the dose. It is a human insulin analog which lowers your blood sugar levels without spikes in effectiveness, so you can more easily predict your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Like the naturally produced insulin in the body, Levemir works by regulating the breakdown of food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) by promoting the absorption of sugar from the blood into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells. The production of sugar, and the release of sugar into the blood is strongly suppressed by high concentrations of insulin in the blood.

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