Insulin Detemir

Molecule Description

Insulin Detemir is a long-acting man-made insulin medication used to control hig...
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Uses of Insulin Detemir

It is used in the treatment of high blood sugars (diabetes) in adults, children and adolescents aged one year and above.

Contraindications of Insulin Detemir

When should one not use Insulin Detemir

If you have an allergy to Insulin Detemir or other ingredients used in the medicine.

Side effects of Insulin Detemir

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) is the most common side effect of rapid heartbeat, cold sweat and skin, vision problems, feeling hungry, feeling sick, anxiety, confusion, etc.
  • Severe low blood sugars can be life-threatening and lead to brain damage, unconsciousness, seizures, etc. The patient may die if not provided emergency medical care
  • Fluid retention - swelling in your hands and feet, breathing difficulty, weight gain
  • Injection site reactions – pain, redness, swelling, bruising
  • Temporary vision disturbances (usually at the start of the treatment), if this problem persists, consult the doctor as it may lead to permanent damage to eyes and loss of vision (diabetic retinopathy)
  • Shrinking or thickening of fat below the skin where you take the injection (lipodystrophy)
  • Swelling near ankles and other joints
  • Severe allergic reactions causing swelling of face, lips, throat, breathing and swallowing difficulty with or without rash, itching, skin blisters and peeling, rapid heartbeat

Precautions and Warnings of Insulin Detemir



Can I take Insulin Detemir during pregnancy?
Insulin Detemir can be given in pregnancy if it is necessary. Persistently high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy are not beneficial for the mother.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Insulin Detemir while breastfeeding?
It is unknown if Insulin Detemir secretes in breast milk. This medicine can be given to breastfeeding mothers if their sugars are not controlled adequately with other available drugs.


Can I drive if I have consumed Insulin Detemir?
A patient on Insulin Detemir should not drive if prone to low blood sugars (hypoglycaemia), which is especially common during the start of treatment. It is advised to carry sugar or a bar of chocolate with you all the time and consume as soon as you are feeling dizzy, cold sweat, rapid heartbeat, confusion, etc.


Can I consume alcohol with Insulin Detemir?
Consumption of alcohol may lead to an increased risk of both low and high blood sugar levels. Consumption of alcohol should be kept to a minimum (occasional drinking) while taking Insulin Detemir.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You have liver or kidney problems
  • You have problems with adrenal gland (situated on top of the kidney), pituitary gland (in the brain) or the thyroid gland
  • Changes in diet, physical activity or exercise
  • You are traveling abroad (different time zones), consult your doctor and note the exact timings on how and when to take the medicine
  • You have deficient albumin levels
  • You experience any fever or illness, do not stop taking insulin without consulting your doctor

Mode of Action of Insulin Detemir

How Does It Work?

Insulin Detemir imitates the action of the insulin naturally produced in the body. It lowers blood sugars by stimulating glucose uptake by cells, tissue and muscles, especially by skeletal muscles and...
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Interactions of Insulin Detemir

Interactions with other medicines

  • Selegeline, Rasagiline, Fluoxetine (medicines used to treat depression)
  • Propanolol, Atenolol, Ramipril, Lisinopril, Losartan (for high blood pressure), water pills (Furosemide, Hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Aspirin
  • Testosterone supplements, Cotrimoxazole and related antibiotics
  • Thyroid hormones, birth control pills
  • Medicines that suppress immune response (Corticosteroids, e.g. Prednisone and Methylprednisolone)
  • Medicines used to treat asthma or relax blood vessels (Epinephrine, Terbutaline, Salbutamol)
  • Growth hormone, medicines that suppress growth hormone (Octreotide, Lanreotide), Danazol (to treat female reproductive problems)

Interactions with food items

As this is a long-acting insulin, Insulin Detemir can be taken with or without meals.

Dietary Restrictions of Insulin Detemir

Have regular diet and exercise habits.

Dosage of Insulin Detemir


Accidental or low overdose may not be harmful. But if you develop symptoms such as sweating, cold skin, rapid heart rate, hungry, weakness, tremors or confusion which are mild, have some sweets or sug...
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Missed a Dose

If you missed any dose, take it as early as you remember. Skip the missed dose if its time almost over & do not take extra medicine or double dose to make up for the missed dose. Ideally, an 8-hou...
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Content Details


Dr. Arpit Verma

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What is the significant difference between basal insulin and bolus insulin?

  • Basal insulin is usually a long-acting or intermediate-acting insulin that is taken once or twice a day. Its primary purpose is to maintain the blood sugar at constant levels and is taken at the same ...
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  • Bolus insulin is a short or rapid-acting insulin and is generally taken immediately before or after meals to prevent any rise in blood glucose levels. It improves the efficiency of the basal insulin a...
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  • A basal-bolus regimen (combining both the regimens) is more convenient as one can be flexible with food timings, and efficacy may also be better as our body also releases insulin just after a meal. Ho...
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Q: Is there anything else I should know before taking Insulin Detemir?

  • Insulin Detemir is a long-acting insulin, which means it has acted up to 24 hours. It will start acting 3-4 hours after consumption
  • This medicine can be used in combination with other tablets or short-acting (bolus) insulin injections given to treat diabetes
  • This injection must be given only subcutaneously (under the skin) and is generally given under the skin of the stomach, thigh, upper part of the hand or hip region
  • Change the injection site every time to reduce the risk of injection site rashes or other side effects
  • Insulin Detemir is not for intravenous use
  • It can be taken at any time of the day but is preferably taken at the same time each for better sugar control
  • If you are taking the injection twice a day, take the evening dose at bedtime
  • Use a new needle for each injection
  • Do not share the insulin pen even if you are using different needles
  • Do not stop taking or adjust the dose of Insulin Detemir without the knowledge of your doctor
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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