Frequently asked questions for Insulin Degludec
Q. What is Insulin Degludec?Insulin Degludec is an ultra long-acting type of insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children (as young as 1 year of age) with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Insulin Degludec works like the insulin that is normally produced by the body and helps move sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it is used for energy production. Also, it stops the liver from producing more sugar and this helps to normalize the blood sugar levels.
Q. How is Insulin Degludec administered?Insulin Degludec is injected just below the skin (subcutaneously). Your doctor will train you on the correct method and the areas (abdomen or stomach, thighs, arms, hips or buttocks) where you should inject it. It is advised that the site of injection should be changed within the chosen area of skin, for every dose. For example, if you have been advised to inject it into the skin of your stomach, avoid puncturing the same point on your stomach every day. Rather, inject the needle at a site that is slightly away, say around 1cm, from the previous injection. You can also consider switching sides while injecting, like choosing the right side on one day and the left side on the next day. This way, you can reduce the complications associated with repeated injections in the same site such as thickening of the fat tissue below the skin known as lipodystrophy, irritation, pain etc. After one to two weeks, you should move to another area of your body (eg. from the stomach to the arms or thighs) as advised by your doctor. Consult your doctor if you face any problems while injecting Insulin Degludec.
Q. Are Insulin glargine and Insulin Degludec the same?Both insulin glargine and Insulin Degludec are man-made versions of human insulin, but they are different in some aspects. On one hand, insulin glargine is a long-acting insulin that helps to maintain adequate blood sugar control for an entire day, although it cannot be combined with any other type of insulin. Whereas, on the other hand, Insulin Degludec is an ultra long-acting insulin that helps control blood sugar levels for more than a day and can be safely combined with other types of insulin (e.g., fast-acting insulin).
Q. Is Insulin Degludec better than Insulin Detemir?Both Insulin Degludec and Insulin Detemir are long-acting insulins with almost similar effectiveness and safety. The only difference is that Insulin Degludec has the longest duration of action (more than 40 hours) and this helps to maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout this duration. Some studies have reported that Insulin Degludec may have a slightly lesser risk of hypoglycemia.
Q. Can Insulin Degludec cause weight gain?Yes, Insulin Degludec may cause weight gain in some patients. This may be due to the anabolic effect of insulin which promotes the storage of glucose and fat.
Q. Can Insulin Degludec raise your blood sugar?No, Insulin Degludec by itself does not raise your blood sugar. However, if you stop taking Insulin Degludec, miss a dose or take a dose lower than what is prescribed, your blood sugar levels may rise. Furthermore, if the person has any other condition along with diabetes, especially infections, stress, irregular meals or reduced activity levels, it may also lead to high blood sugar levels. As a result, their requirement for Insulin Degludec may increase further. Consult your doctor to know about any dose changes if you have been facing any of these issues or if your blood sugar levels are not controlled.
Q. Do I have to take Insulin Degludec at the same time every day?Yes, take Insulin Degludec preferably at the same time every day and exactly as advised by your doctor. On occasions when it is not possible to take it at the same time of the day, it can be taken at a different time of the day. Make sure to have a minimum gap of 8 hours between doses. However, children and young adults must take their dose at the same time every day.
Q. Can Insulin Degludec be used in combination with other diabetes medicines?Insulin Degludec can be safely used in combination with other diabetes medicines or fast-acting insulin, if prescribed by the doctor. Take it in the dose and duration advised by your doctor to get maximum benefit. However, taking thiazolidinediones (TZDs), like pioglitazone, with Insulin Degludec may cause heart failure in some people. This can happen even if you have never had heart failure or heart problems. In case you already have heart failure, it may get worse on taking TZDs with Insulin Degludec. Let your doctor know about all the other medicines, particularly any other diabetes medicines you are taking and if you have or ever had any heart problems.
Q. What should I avoid while taking Insulin Degludec?Avoid missing doses and take Insulin Degludec regularly as prescribed by the doctor. Do not miss your meals and follow a diabetic diet chart as advised by your doctor. You may consult a dietician to get a diabetic diet chart that suits you best. Your doctor will advise certain lifestyle changes and you must adhere to them. Stay active and exercise regularly. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Insulin Degludec affects you. Do not drink excessive alcohol as it may alter your blood sugar levels. Tell your doctor about all the other medicines that you are taking as they may affect your dosage. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and do not miss any appointments with your doctor.
Q. Can Insulin Degludec be used alone?Insulin Degludec can help with daily management of diabetes. Insulin Degludec is a long acting type of insulin that helps to normalize blood sugar levels for an entire day. However, you may still be prescribed a short-acting insulin or oral diabetes medicines to treat the spike (rise) in your blood sugar levels after taking a meal. Follow your doctor’s advice for keeping an adequate control on your blood sugar levels.
Q. Is Insulin Degludec a basal insulin? How does it work? Yes, Insulin Degludec is a type of basal insulin or background insulin. These are long-acting insulins that keep working in the background over a 24 hour period (or more), to keep your blood sugar levels under control throughout your daily routine.