Storing insulin correctly is absolutely essential. Failure to do so can have severe consequences on its effectiveness and, ultimately, on your diabetes management. Indeed, all types of insulin are sensitive to temperature. Therefore, they must be refrigerated when not in use and protected from heat once opened.
Levemir is no exception, but it comes with its specific storage requirements. So, if you've recently been prescribed Levemir, make sure to read this article and learn how to properly store and handle your pens and vials at home or while traveling!
Keep Your Levemir Pens & Vials Refrigerated with 4AllFamily's Insulin Travel Coolers!
If you're a visual learner or just prefer watching over reading, we've got you covered! Take a look at our video below, same topic, different format!
What is Levemir?
Levemir is the brand name for insulin detemir, which is a long-acting insulin (also called background insulin or basal insulin) used to manage blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Levemir works by keeping blood sugar levels within range during periods of fasting, such as in-between meals or overnight. It begins to take effect within 1-2 hours after the injection (onset time), with a peak of activity occurring between 6-8 hours after injection. Levemir's duration of action is approximately 24 hours, but it can vary depending on the individual.
Levemir can be used in combination with other diabetes medications, such as short-acting insulin (bolus insulin) or oral antidiabetic medications like Metformin. It is injected subcutaneously (under the skin), generally once a day.
Related article: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Insulin Pens for Injection!
Levemir FlexPen and vials
Levemir is available in prefilled injector pens or vials.
The pens are more convenient to use, as they hold multiple insulin doses and do not require a syringe to draw up insulin from a vial.
Levemir was available in a FlexTouch injector pen, but this type of pen was discontinued in February 2023. It's now available in FlexPen, a slightly different kind of injector. Patients who priorly received the FlexTouch Levemir pen will automatically receive the new version but are invited to read the new instructions for use.
Related article: How to Store your Lantus Pens & Vials at Home?
Does Levemir Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, like all types and brands of insulin, Levemir needs to be refrigerated. Insulin is an injectable medication that is easily affected by temperature. Therefore, storing it in the refrigerator helps preserve its potency and effectiveness.
However, Levemir storage instructions allow for greater flexibility. Indeed, it can stay unrefrigerated for up to 42 days, whereas most insulins start degrading after 28 days only at room temperature.
Related article: Does Humalog Need to Be Refrigerated?
Levemir storage instructions
According to Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Levemir, Levemir pens and vials should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
However, once a vial or pen has been opened, used, or removed from the fridge, it can be stored at room temperature below 30°C (86°F) for up to 42 days, as long as it is kept away from direct heat and light.
Additionally, make sure to protect your Levemir pens and vials from freezing, as it could quickly cause the insulin inside to become denatured and ineffective.
Related article: Does Novolog Need to Be Refrigerated?
How Long is Levemir Good for?
The shelf life of Levemir (insulin detemir) can vary depending on several factors, such as the storage conditions and the expiration date printed on the packaging.
If kept refrigerated between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) without interruption of the cold chain, unopened vials and pens of Levemir are generally good for two years from the date of manufacture. Every Levemir pen or vial has a printed expiration date labeled on them.
Once a vial or pen of Levemir has been opened, punctured, or removed from the fridge, it is only good for a maximum of 42 days. Meanwhile, it must be protected from light and high heat (kept below 86°F (30°C)). Failure to follow these instructions may shorten Levemir's shelf life, as it could go bad before the 42 days.
Discard any Levemir pen or vial that hasn’t been stored accordingly to the manufacturer’s instructions, even if there’s still insulin inside.
Never use medication that has expired or been improperly stored, as it may not be safe for use.
If you have concerns about the storage or use of your Levemir pens and vials, it's best to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.
Related article: 10 Tips That Work to Inject Insulin Without Pain!
How to keep Levemir cool while traveling?
If you are traveling with insulin, like Levemir, and do not have access to refrigeration, you can use a medical-grade travel cooler like the ones from 4AllFamily to keep your insulin within a safe temperature range.
Remember that your in-use Levemir pens or vials must be protected from heat and kept under 86°F (30°), while your stocks of unopened Levemir must be refrigerated.
The Voyager Travel Fridge can hold up to 7 Levemir FlexPens and maintain fridge temperature for unlimited time when plugged into a USB power source, like a car cigarette lighter, a portable solar panel, or a power bank.
The Companion Cooling Bag is designed for opened pens and vials of insulin that must be protected from heat. It can keep 5 Levemir FlexPens below the threshold temperature of 79°F (26°) for up to 10 hours, even when it's 104°F (40°) outside!
Related article: The Ultimate Checklist for Traveling with Diabetes!