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Novo Nordisk to Discontinue Levemir: Impact on Diabetic Treatment

Novo Nordisk to Discontinue Levemir: Impact on Diabetic Treatment


Novo Nordisk, a prominent pharmaceutical company, will discontinue Levemir, a long-acting insulin vital for individuals managing diabetes. This decision marks the conclusion of production for one of Novo Nordisk’s leading products.

Levemir’s Discontinuation Timeline:

  • When: Levemir’s availability will diminish gradually.
  • Levemir FlexPen: Supply disruption is anticipated from mid-January 2024 till its discontinuation on April 1.
  • Levemir in Vials: Ceasing supply after Dec. 31, 2024.
  • Supply Chain Issues: Novo Nordisk alerts about impending Levemir shortages due to supply chain challenges.

Reasons for Discontinue Levemir:

  • Global Constraints: Global manufacturing limitations impact production.
  • Formulary Losses: Impact on patient access due to formulary changes.
  • Alternative Options: Availability of alternative treatment choices influencing the decision.

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Levemir vs. Tresiba: A Comparison:

  • Levemir: Introduced in 2005, a long-acting insulin starting effect within 1-2 hours, active for up to 24 hours, with some patients needing twice-daily dosing.
  • Tresiba: Novo Nordisk’s newer product (approved in 2015), offering a 42-hour duration and injected once daily, allowing flexible dosing schedules.

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Market Shift Towards Tresiba:

  • Sales Performance: Tresiba surpasses Levemir in sales, attributed to its less frequent dosing and lower instances of severe hypoglycemia.

Impact of Discontinuation:

  • Market Evolution: Newer, more effective basal insulins, like Tresiba, enter the market, rendering older-generation insulins, such as Levemir, obsolete.
  • Consumer Impact: Levemir’s discontinuation, especially amid significant price cuts, could restrict access to essential medications for many diabetes patients.

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Expert Insights:

Dr. Philip Home speculates production concerns for other drugs might be a driving force behind Levemir’s discontinuation, aiming to allocate manufacturing resources efficiently.

Also, read about Impact of Salt Intake on Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Recommendations for Levemir Users:

  • Consultation: Discuss alternative long-acting insulin options with healthcare providers.
  • Formulary and Price Cuts: Explore formulary-covered or recently priced-reduced insulin alternatives if currently using Levemir.