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Insulin degludec

Generic name: insulin degludec
Brand name: Tresiba
Dosage form: pen and vial for subcutaneous injection
Drug class: Insulin

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Aug 23, 2023.

What is insulin degludec?

Insulin degludec is a long-acting basal human insulin analog that is used to improve glycemic control in people with diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your body that helps you to lower your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.

People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes need to administer man-made forms of insulin. This is because they don't produce enough insulin themselves or their body doesn't respond well enough to the insulin they produce.

Basal insulin analogs like insulin degludec, work to keep your blood glucose levels stable during times when you're fasting, such as at night when you're asleep. Insulin degludec provides a 'background', slow-acting supply of insulin.

Insulin degludec was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015. The Tresiba brand of insulin degludec is the only version of this medication currently available.

What is insulin degludec used for?

Important information

Do not share your insulin degludec FlexTouch insulin delivery device (pen) with other people, even if the needle has changed. Do not share needles or syringes with another person. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.

Who should not take insulin degludec?

Do not take insulin degludec if you:

What should I tell my doctor before taking insulin degludec?

Before taking insulin degludec, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions including, if you are:

Before you start taking insulin degludec, talk to your healthcare provider about low blood sugar and how to manage it.

How should I take insulin degludec?

What happens if I miss a dose?

What should I avoid while taking insulin degludec?

While taking insulin degludec do not:

Dosing information

Starting dose in patients who are not taking insulin:

Starting dose in patients already taking insulin:

See full prescribing information for additional important information about insulin degludec dosing.

What are the side effects of insulin degludec?

Insulin degludec may cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

Your insulin dose may need to change because of:

Common side effects of insulin degludec may include:

Get emergency medical help if you have:

These are not all the possible side effects of insulin degludec. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Especially tell your doctor if you take medications that may:

Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take one of these medications.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. There is a risk to mother and fetus associated with poorly controlled diabetes in pregnancy. However, there is a lack of data available to determine whether insulin degludec is safe in pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. There is a lack of data available to determine whether insulin degludec is safe to use while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about whether the benefits of taking insulin degludec while breastfeeding outweigh any possible risks. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby while taking insulin degludec.


Vials before use:

Vials in use:

Pen before use:

Pen in use:

What are the ingredients in insulin degludec?

Active Ingredient: insulin degludec

Inactive Ingredients: glycerol, metacresol, phenol, water for injection, and zinc. Hydrochloric acid or sodium hydroxide may be added.

Insulin degludec is manufactured under the brand name Tresiba by Novo Nordisk A/S, DK-2880 Bagsværd, Denmark.

Popular FAQ

Injecting insulin is not difficult, but it does take a bit of practice. There are three main sites where insulin can be injected: the stomach area except for a 2-inch circle around your navel, and the soft part of your waist, but not anywhere near your spine; the top and outer part of your thighs, but not your inner thighs or anywhere close to your knee; the outer back of your upper arm where there is a pocket of fatty tissue. Continue reading

Both Soliqua and Xultophy combine a long-acting insulin with a GLP-1 agonist: Xultopy brings together Tresiba (insulin degludec) and Victoza (liraglutide), while Soliqua combines Lantus (insulin glargine) with Adlyxin (lixisenatide). When used with diet and exercise for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, these agents can help you control blood sugar, insulin levels, and digestion and may help you lose weight. Continue reading

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.