How are Levemir FlexTouch Pens Used?
These injections pens will typically be used once or twice per day to inject a patient’s prescribed dosage of insulin to manage their blood glucose levels.
Patients should follow the dosage and injection directions exactly as instructed by their prescribing physician. Insulin may be injected into the upper arms, the thighs, or the abdomen, and the patient should rotate the site of injection each time to avoid causing any damage to the skin.
Levemir FlexTouch pens that are unopened and unused should be stored in a refrigerator and kept between temperatures of 36°F (2°C) to 46°F (8°C). Once a pen has been removed from refrigeration and is actively being used, it should be stored at room temperature and outside of the refrigerator. However, it should never be exposed to temperatures exceeding 86°F.
When refrigerated, unused and opened injection pens may be stored until their listed expiration date. If stored at room temperature or currently in use, these pens should be disposed of after 42 days, even if some insulin still remains within the pen.
Keep this medication out of the reach of children at all times.
Levemir FlexTouch pens should be kept away from light and heat, and they should never be frozen. If the insulin within an injection pen has been frozen at any point in time, it should not be used.
Levemir FlexTouch is prescribed for a variety of insulin-related conditions, including but not limited to:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis
- Diabetic Coma
- Autoimmune Disorders
How Does Levemir FlexTouch Work?
The insulin contained in Levemir FlexTouch pens works as a replacement for the insulin that should naturally be made by the patient’s body. As a long-acting insulin, it is able to provide prolonged, steady, lower levels of insulin to help manage the patient’s blood glucose levels properly.
This medication comes in a prefilled injection pen that contains 100 units of insulin detemir per mL.
The patient’s required daily dosage of insulin will be determined by their physician based on the amount of insulin produced by their pancreas as well as any additional health conditions, medications, or lifestyle aspects that may impact their blood glucose levels on a daily basis.
If an overdose of insulin has occurred or is suspected, the individual’s doctor or local Poison Control Center should be contacted as soon as possible. If symptoms of hypoglycemia become significant, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.
Too much insulin in the body can result in life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels). The symptoms of low blood glucose levels include the following:
- feeling dizzy
- having heart palpitations
- losing consciousness
Some cases of hypoglycemia may be counteracted by ingesting fast-acting carbohydrates to increase the individual’s blood sugar levels. This includes sugary products like candy, fruit juice, regular soft drinks (not diet), and glucose tablets.
However, if a patient’s blood sugar levels drop dangerously low, this can result in them going into a coma or experiencing seizures. If the individual’s response to hypoglycemia appears to be severe, emergency medical attention should be sought at once.
The most common side effects of using this medication are as follows:
- allergic reactions
- changes in the thickness of the skin at the site of injection
- hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels)
- hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels)
- numbness in the arms and legs
- pain in the arms or legs
- reactions at the injection site
- visions changes
- weakness in the limbs
- weight gain
Some of the following side effects may also occur and should be reported to your doctor immediately. Patients that experience any of the following serious side effects should seek medical attention if these symptoms worsen and appear to be life-threatening:
- loss of consciousness
- severe allergic reaction
- breathing difficulties
- skin rash
- swelling of the throat, mouth, or tongue
- swelling under the skin of the feet, hands, or eyelids
- severe hyperglycemia
- blurry vision
- excessive hunger or thirst
- frequent urination
- heart or kidney problems
- severe hypoglycemia
- cold sweat
- feeling lightheaded
- inability to concentrate
- losing consciousness
- symptoms of hypokalemia (low potassium levels)
- muscle cramps
- swollen joints
Warnings & Precautions
Allergic reactions may occur in some individuals. If you inject this medication and experience any of the following symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately: dizziness, skin rash, itchiness, racing heart, sudden onset of sweating, breathing difficulties, or swelling of the throat or face.
Changes in Insulin Requirements
Certain conditions and activities may impact a patient’s insulin requirements, meaning that adjustments in the patient’s insulin regimen will be required. This may include changes in diet or exercise, surgery, stress, traveling, experiencing an injury, or getting sick. Additionally, some other medical conditions and medications may also result in changes that may affect a patient’s insulin needs. Any changes in a patient’s health or lifestyle should be discussed with the patient’s physician to ensure that they are receiving the correct amount of insulin to manage their condition each day.
Checking the Appearance of the Medication Before Use
Before injecting your insulin, you should also check the ensure that the solution is colorless and clear. If you notice any clumping, particles, discoloration, or cloudiness, this medication should not be used.
Patients with reduced hepatic function or liver disease should discuss these conditions with their physician, as these issues may impact their required daily dosage of insulin. Some individuals may need to have regular testing performed and monitoring of their blood glucose levels and hepatic function during treatment.
Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose Levels)
Patients that miss a dose of insulin or that inject a dose that is too low may experience high blood glucose levels. This condition may build up and escalate over the course of a few hours or a few days. If left untreated, dangerously high levels of blood glucose can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, which can become life-threatening and lead to a loss of consciousness, the patient becoming comatose, or the individual dying.
Patients who experience the following symptoms of hyperglycemia should contact their physician as soon as possible: drowsiness, dry mouth, dry and flushed skin, fruity breath odor, a loss of appetite, increased need to urinate, nausea, and vomiting.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose Levels)
Patients that use too much insulin, engage in too much exercise, or skip meals are at an increased risk of experiencing hypoglycemia. Mild cases of low blood glucose levels may be managed and resolved by ingesting fast-acting carbohydrates to increase the individual’s blood sugar levels and then resting to allow these levels to become balanced again. Severe cases of hypoglycemia may result in seizures, losing consciousness, or becoming disoriented.
Patients that experience the following symptoms of low blood glucose levels are advised to ingest carbohydrates to counteract the condition or contact their doctor for additional medical advice: rapid heart rate, confusion, hunger, cold sweats, shakiness, nervousness, weakness, feeling lightheaded, or experiencing numbness of the fingers, lips, or tongue.
Regular Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels
Although patients with diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels regularly, this is especially important for those who are making any changes to their insulin regimen or diet or who are experiencing increased stress levels or illness, as all of these factors may impact their blood glucose levels. Any significant variations in these levels should be reported to the patient’s physician as soon as possible.
Patients with reduced renal function or kidney disease should discuss such conditions with their physician, as these aspects of their health may impact the amount of insulin required to manage their condition. Some individuals may need to have regular testing performed and monitoring of their blood glucose levels and renal function during treatment.
It has not been determined if this medication is effective or safe for use in children below the age of two years.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Patients that are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or that become pregnant while using this medication should consult with their physician regarding the safest and most appropriate dosage for each stage of their pregnancy, as insulin needs fluctuate throughout these periods.
It has not been determined if this medication is passed into breastmilk, so patients that are desiring to breastfeed while using Levemir are advised to consult with their physician regarding potential changes to their diet or their current dosage of this medication.
Speak with your doctor about any medications or herbal supplements you are currently taking before beginning treatment with this medication. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or a trusted pharmacist.
The following medications and substances are known to interact with this medication and may increase your chances of experiencing adverse side effects or weakening the efficacy of Levemir: