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Insulin degludec

Generic Name: insulin degludec (IN su lin de GLOO dek)
Brand Name: Tresiba FlexTouch

Medically reviewed on Aug 16, 2018

What is insulin degludec?

See also: Basaglar

Insulin is a hormone that works by lowering levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin degludec is a long-acting insulin that starts to work several hours after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours.

Insulin degludec is used to improve blood sugar control in adults with diabetes mellitus. insulin degludec may be used for type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Insulin degludec may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Never share an injection pen with another person, even if the needle has been changed.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use insulin degludec if you are allergic to it, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment).

Insulin degludec is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver or kidney disease; or

  • low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia).

Tell your doctor if you also take pioglitazone or rosiglitazone (sometimes contained in combinations with glimepiride or metformin). Taking certain oral diabetes medicines while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.

Follow your doctor's instructions about using insulin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby. Blood sugar control is very important during pregnancy, and your dose needs may be different during each trimester of pregnancy. Your dose needs may also be different while you are breast-feeding.

How should I use insulin degludec?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

A dose counter on the injection pen shows your dose in units. Do not convert your dose.

Insulin degludec is injected under the skin, usually once daily at any time of day. A healthcare provider will teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Insulin degludec must not be given with an insulin pump, or mixed with other insulins. Use only the prefilled injection pen that comes with insulin degludec. Attach a new needle before each use. Do not transfer the insulin from the pen into a syringe.

Your care provider will show you where to on your body to inject insulin degludec. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Never share an injection pen with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.

Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.

Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination, blurred vision, headache, and tiredness.

Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your insulin dose or schedule.

Insulin degludec is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, regular blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

In case of emergency, wear or carry medical identification to let others know you have diabetes.

Keep this medicine in its original container protected from heat and light. Do not freeze insulin or store it near the cooling element in a refrigerator. Throw away any insulin that has been frozen.

Storing unopened (not in use) insulin degludec:

  • Refrigerate and use until expiration date; or

  • Store at room temperature and use within 8 weeks (56 days).

Storing opened (in use) insulin degludec:

  • Store the injection pen at room temperature (do not refrigerate) and use within 8 weeks. Do not store the injection pen with a needle attached.

Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy or has changed colors. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Then continue your regular dosing schedule, allowing at least 8 hours to pass between doses. Do not use two doses at one time.

Keep insulin on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Insulin overdose can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in your mouth, trouble speaking, muscle weakness, clumsy or jerky movements, seizure (convulsions), or loss of consciousness.

What should I avoid while using insulin degludec?

Insulin can cause low blood sugar. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how insulin degludec will affect you.

Avoid medication errors by always checking the medicine label before injecting your insulin.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can cause low blood sugar and may interfere with your diabetes treatment.

Insulin degludec side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching, skin rash; wheezing, tiredness, trouble breathing; feeling like you might pass out; nausea, diarrhea; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fluid retention--weight gain, swelling in your hands or feet, feeling short of breath; or

  • low potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • low blood sugar;

  • weight gain;

  • itching, rash; or

  • thickening or hollowing of the skin where you injected the medicine.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect insulin degludec?

Using certain medicines can make it harder for you to tell when you have low blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you use albuterol, clonidine, reserpine, or a beta-blocker (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, and others).

Insulin degludec may not work as well when you use other medicines at the same time. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all medicines you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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

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