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Guide to Levemir Insulin - Managing Diabetes

A Long-Lasting Insulin Analog for Diabetic Dogs and Cats

By Sam Bourne. July 23, 2013

indications for Levemir Insulin

A name brand version of the generic insulin, detemir, Levemir is used to treat diabetes mellitus (chronic diabetes). Levemir is an insulin analog, which means that it is not a type of insulin derived from ingredients found in nature, but rather an artificially crafted chemical substance developed to behave like, or analogously, to natural insulin. Levemir is known to elicit a strong reaction in dogs, meaning that, typically, less is required to constitute a full dosage, as opposed to other types of insulin.

Precautions

The injection should not be administered in the same location every day, as scar tissue may form, hampering the ability to absorb the insulin. Levemir should not be used in dogs or cats with ketoacidosis, anorexia, or lethargy, who should be prescribed a shorter-acting insulin. Usage of Levemir with the following substances could cause certain health problems:

  • Anabolic Steroids, Beta Adrenergic Blockers, & MAOIs, as they can cause potentiation
  • Estrogen Agents, Glucocorticoids, Progesterone, & Thiazide Diuretics as they can decrease the effectivity of Levemir
  • Diuretics could be cause to monitor potassium levels if using together
  • Thyroid Hormones might initially cause spikes in glucose
  • Burdock (a root with hypoglycemic properties) consumption should cause dosages of Levemir to be adjusted accordingly.

Dosage

Dogs are very sensitive to this type of insulin, and dosages are generally at least half that of other types (0.1 unit/kg given every 12 hours, as opposed to 0.2 unit/kg or 0.5 unit/kg). Like other types of insulin, Levemir needs to be delivered subcutaneously via injection. You will need either a U-40 or U-100 mg syringe, depending on the concentration of the solution. Consult your vet on the specific measurements per, and frequency of, the doses.

Side Effects

Side effects of using Levemir include, but are not limited to, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Somogyi effect hyperglycemia (overproduction of insulin by the liver during sleep), rapid insulin metabolism (the body using the injected insulin inefficiently). Overdose of insulin can cause severe hypoglycemia and even death.

Brand/Generic equivalents

Detemir

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Levemir Insulin at a glance

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  • 1For dogs and cats
  • 2An insulin analog (not organic)
  • 3An injectable
  • 4Manages insulin levels in pets with diabetes