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Generic Name: insulin detemir (IN su lin DE te mir)
Brand Names: Levemir, Levemir FlexPen
Levemir (insulin detemir) is a long acting insulin used to treat diabetes in adults and children. Includes Levemir side effects, interactions and indications.
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Drug Information:
Levemir (insulin detemir) is a man-made form of insulin, a hormone that is produced in the body. Insulin works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin detemir is a long-acting insulin that starts to work several hours after injection and keeps working evenly for up to 24 hours. Levemir is used to improve blood sugar control in adults and children with diabetes mellitus. Levemir is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. Levemir is also used to treat type 1 diabetes in adults and children who are at least 2 years old. Learn more

Levemir Side Effects

Levemir Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about insulin detemir. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Levemir.

In Summary

Common side effects of Levemir include: severe hypoglycemia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to insulin detemir: subcutaneous solution

Along with its needed effects, insulin detemir (the active ingredient contained in Levemir) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking insulin detemir:

Incidence not known

  • Anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • cool, pale skin
  • cough
  • depression
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • headache
  • hives
  • hoarseness
  • increased hunger
  • irritation
  • itching
  • joint pain
  • nausea
  • nightmares
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the skin
  • seizures
  • shakiness
  • skin rash
  • slurred speech
  • stiffness or swelling
  • swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects of insulin detemir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Incidence not known

  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • redistribution or accumulation of body fat
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble breathing at rest
  • weight gain

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to insulin detemir: subcutaneous solution


Adverse reactions associated with insulin detemir (the active ingredient contained in Levemir) include hypoglycemia, allergic reactions, injection site reactions, lipodystrophy, rash, and pruritus.


Severe hypoglycemia defined as third party intervention, occurred in approximately 6% of patients receiving insulin detemir (the active ingredient contained in Levemir) in clinical trials. Weight gain has been reported with insulin therapy and has been attributed to the anabolic effects of insulin and the decrease in glucosuria.

Very common (10% or more): Hypoglycemia

Frequency not reported: Weight gain


Injection site reactions seem to occur more frequently with insulin detemir (the active ingredient contained in Levemir) than with human insulin products. Reactions have included pain, redness, hives, inflammation, bruising, swelling, and itching at the injection site. Most injection site reactions have been minor and transitory, disappearing in a few days to a few weeks, even with continued treatment.

Common (1% to 10%): Injection site reactions

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site pain


Hypersensitivity side effects have included both local and systemic reactions. Anaphylaxis has been reported. Local reactions have presented as erythema, local edema, and pruritus at the injection site. Most minor reactions to insulin at the injection site resolve in a few days to a few weeks.

Allergic reactions and potentially allergic reactions were reported more frequently in 3 clinical studies with subjects receiving combination oral antidiabetic agents compared with the frequency across all studies (2.2% versus 0.1% to 1%).

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Allergic reactions


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Peripheral edema

Insulin may cause sodium retention and edema, especially as metabolic control is improving.


Frequency not reported: Refraction disorder, worsening of diabetic retinopathy

Rapid improvement in glucose control has been associated with a transitory, reversible ophthalmologic refraction disorder and worsening of diabetic retinopathy. However, long-term glycemic control decreases the risk of diabetic retinopathy.


Common (1% to 10%): Lipohypertrophy

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Lipoatrophy

Postmarketing reports: Rash urticaria


In phase 3 trials, antibody development with no apparent impact on glycemic control was observed.

Very common (10% or more): Influenza-like illness (up to 13%)

Common (1% to 10%): Viral infection

Frequency not reported: Antibody development


Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia, fatigue


Very common (10% or more): Gastroenteritis (up to 16%), abdominal pain (up to 13%)

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting, toothache


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection

Nervous system

Rapid improvement in glucose control has been associated with a transitory, reversible acute painful peripheral neuropathy. However, long-term glycemic control decreases the risk.

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 31%)

Common (1% to 10%): Migraine, dizziness

Rare (less than 0.1%): Painful peripheral neuropathy


Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 35%), pharyngitis (up to 17%)

Common (1% to 10%): Bronchitis, cough, rhinitis, sinusitis

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Levemir