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All about: Levemir Cartridges

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Generic Name: Insulin Detemir Cartridges and Prefilled Syringes (IN-su-lin DE-te-meer)
Brand Name: Levemir

Levemir Cartridges is used for:

Treating diabetes mellitus.

Levemir Cartridges is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is necessary for the body's correct use of food, especially sugar. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to meet the body's needs. Insulin helps to keep blood glucose at a nearly normal level.

Do NOT use Levemir Cartridges if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Levemir Cartridges
  • you are having an episode of low blood sugar

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Levemir Cartridges:

Some medical conditions may interact with Levemir Cartridges. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you drink alcoholic beverages
  • if you have kidney or liver problems, diabetic ketoacidosis, or nerve problems
  • if you have high blood sodium levels or you are on a low sodium diet

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Levemir Cartridges. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), clonidine, or lithium because the risk of high or low blood sugar may be increased
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril), disopyramide, fenfluramine, fibrates (eg, clofibrate, gemfibrozil), fluoxetine, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), oral medicines for diabetes (eg, glipizide, metformin, nateglinide), pentamidine, propoxyphene, salicylates (eg, aspirin), somatostatin analogs (eg, octreotide), or sulfonamide antibiotics (eg, sulfamethoxazole) because the risk of low blood sugar may be increased
  • Corticosteroids (eg, propranolol), danazol, diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), estrogen, hormonal contraceptives (eg, birth control pills), isoniazid, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), progesterones (eg, medroxyprogesterone), somatropin, sympathomimetics (eg, albuterol, epinephrine, terbutaline), or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because they may decrease Levemir Cartridges's effectiveness, resulting in high blood sugar
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), clonidine, guanethidine, or reserpine because they may decrease or hide the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar if it occurs

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Levemir Cartridges may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Levemir Cartridges:

Use Levemir Cartridges as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An additional patient leaflet is available with Levemir Cartridges. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to use Levemir Cartridges with regard to food.
  • If you will be using Levemir Cartridges at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Levemir Cartridges. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Inject deep under the skin, NOT into a vein or muscle.
  • Injection sites within an injection area (eg, abdomen, thigh, upper arm) must be rotated from one injection to the next.
  • Levemir Cartridges is a clear, colorless solution. Do not use Levemir Cartridges if it contains particles, is discolored, or if the container is cracked or damaged.
  • Be sure you have purchased the correct insulin. Insulin comes in a variety of containers, including vials, cartridges, and pens. Make sure that you understand how to properly measure and prepare your dose. If you have any questions about measuring and preparing your dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for information.
  • Do not mix this insulin with any other type of insulin or medicine in the same syringe.
  • Do not use Levemir Cartridges in an insulin infusion pump.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do NOT miss any doses. Ask your doctor for specific instructions to follow in case you ever miss a dose of insulin.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Levemir Cartridges.

Important safety information:

  • Levemir Cartridges may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Levemir Cartridges with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol without discussing it with your doctor. Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of developing high or low blood sugar.
  • Illness, especially with nausea and vomiting, emotional problems, stress, or changes in diet or activity level may cause your insulin requirements to change. Even if you are not eating, you still require insulin. You and your doctor should establish a sick day plan to use in case of illness. When you are sick, test your blood/urine frequently and call your doctor as instructed.
  • If you will be traveling across time zones, ask your doctor about adjustments to your insulin schedule.
  • Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular testing of blood sugar are important for best results when using Levemir Cartridges. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. If your blood sugar level is often higher than it should be and you are taking Levemir Cartridges according to the directions, check with your doctor.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes.
  • Do NOT use more than the recommended dose, use for longer than prescribed, or change the type or dose of insulin you are taking without checking with your doctor.
  • An insulin reaction resulting from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) may occur if you take too much insulin, skip a meal, or exercise too much. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.
  • Developing a fever or infection, eating significantly more than usual, or missing your dose of insulin may cause high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Lab tests, such as fasting blood glucose levels or hemoglobin A1c, may be performed while you use Levemir Cartridges. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Levemir Cartridges with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially low blood sugar.
  • Levemir Cartridges should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Levemir Cartridges while you are pregnant. It is not known if Levemir Cartridges is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use this medicine, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Levemir Cartridges:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Depression in the skin; enlargement or thickening of the skin; redness, swelling, mild pain, or itching at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; fast heartbeat; fast, shallow breathing; headache; hoarseness; increased hunger, thirst, or urination; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; slurred speech; stomach pain; sweating; sweet or fruity breath; swelling of arms or legs; tremor; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm) or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chills; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; headache; increased heartbeat; increased hunger; loss of consciousness; nervousness; seizures; shakiness; sweating; tremor; vision changes; weakness.

Proper storage of Levemir Cartridges:

Store new (unopened) cartridges and prefilled syringes in a refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze Levemir Cartridges. Store used (open) cartridges and prefilled syringes at room temperature, below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Do NOT store used (open) cartridges or prefilled syringes in the refrigerator. Store away from heat and light. If Levemir Cartridges has been frozen or overheated, throw it away.

Do not leave Levemir Cartridges in a car on a warm or sunny day. Do not use Levemir Cartridges after the expiration date stamped on the label. Throw away used cartridges or prefilled syringes 28 days after the first use, even if they still contain medicine. Keep Levemir Cartridges, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Levemir Cartridges, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Levemir Cartridges is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Levemir Cartridges. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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