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Insulin Detemir Dosage

Before determining your insulin detemir dosage, your healthcare provider will consider several factors, such as your weight, the dosage of other insulin medications you are taking, and other existing medical conditions you have. You can take your insulin detemir dose once or twice a day, and it can be injected into the skin and fat layer of the stomach, upper arm, or thigh.


Insulin Detemir Dosage: An Introduction

The dose of insulin detemir (Levemir®) your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • Your current dose of other insulin medications
  • Your weight
  • How you respond to insulin detemir (especially as measured by your blood sugar levels)
  • Other medications you are taking, including other diabetes medications
  • Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

What Is a "Unit" of Insulin Detemir?

In order to understand the dosing of insulin detemir and other insulin medications, it is important to understand what exactly a "unit" of insulin is. There are different types of insulin. A single unit should have the same biological activity, no matter what type of insulin you use, as all insulins are compared to a single standard.

Insulin Detemir Dosing Guidelines

You can take insulin detemir once or twice a day. If you take it once a day, you should take it consistently: either at bedtime or with your evening meal. If you take it twice a day, the first dose should be in the morning, and the second dose can be with your evening meal, at bedtime, or 12 hours after the first dose. Your healthcare provider will help you determine which way is best for you.
If you are currently using a "basal-bolus" insulin regimen (a long- or intermediate-acting insulin, plus a rapid-acting insulin for meals), insulin detemir can be used to replace your long- or intermediate-acting insulin. In general, a unit-for-unit dose conversion will work fine. In other words, if you currently take 20 units of a long-acting insulin per day, your insulin detemir dose would be 20 units once daily or 10 units twice daily. Some dose adjustment may be necessary, based on how you react to insulin detemir.
If you are currently using a "basal-only" insulin regimen (just a long- or intermediate-acting insulin), insulin detemir can replace your current insulin on a unit-for-unit basis, although some dose adjustments may be necessary.
If you are not currently using any insulin, there are two different recommended ways to find a starting insulin detemir dosage:
  • Based on your weight -- 0.1 to 0.2 units per kg (about 0.045 to 0.09 units per pound) once a day in the evening
  • A standard starting dose -- 10 units once or twice daily.
Your healthcare provider will use your response to the starting insulin detemir dose (as measured by your blood sugar levels) to recommend any dose changes.
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