skip to main content

What does it do?

Insulin detemir is a long-acting insulin used to treat diabetes. It moves glucose from your blood into your cells, so the glucose can be used for energy.

Before you start

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

How should you use it?

Insulin detemir should be injected under the skin. The tummy is usually the best place to inject. Change the injection site regularly so that you are less likely to get lumpiness under the skin.

Do not stop using insulin detemir without talking to your health professional first.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is almost time for your next dose of insulin detemir, skip the dose you missed and continue at your normal time. Do not inject two doses at the same time. Otherwise, inject the missed dose as soon as possible. If you are unsure, contact your health professional.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Low blood glucose (hypo): symptoms may include sweating, trembling, feeling anxious or irritable

Drink or eat something sweet. Tell your health professional if this happens a lot or is severe.

Weight gain

Pain, tenderness or redness at injection site

Tell your health professional if troublesome

Lumpiness under the skin

Change the injection site regularly. Discuss with your health professional.

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Check your blood glucose levels before meals, 2 hours after meals and at bedtime, or as directed.
  • Wear medical identification (e.g. MedicAlert bracelet) saying that you have diabetes. Always keep insulin and something sweet with you.
  • You will need a regular blood test (HbA1c) to check how your diabetes is controlled.
  • If you are unwell, follow your sick-day plan as the amount of insulin you need may change. Discuss this with your health professional.
  • Exercise or physical activity may change the amount of insulin you need. Discuss this with your health professional.
  • Alcohol may change your blood glucose levels and make you more likely to have a hypo. It may also mask your warning signs of low blood glucose.
  • Check your blood glucose levels before driving. Do not drive if you are having a hypo as low blood glucose could make driving unsafe.
  • Keep unopened insulin in the fridge. Once you start using it, you can keep it at room temperature for about 4 weeks (check the exact time on the packet for your insulin). After this, take any leftover insulin back to your pharmacy.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the MyMedicines Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha, New Zealand. March 2024

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

Web links for this sheet in different formats

Click on buttons to copy web addresses for this leaflet:

If your browser does not automatically copy these links use its copy command instead.

About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed