Ultra Long-Acting Insulin

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2022 | Last updated: May 2022

Ultra long-acting insulin has a prolonged release that provides steady insulin in the body for up to 42 hours. Insulin helps regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood by stimulating the cells to absorb glucose, which is needed by the cells for fuel. Insulin also keeps the liver from producing more glucose.

In type 2 diabetes, the body loses the ability to use the insulin it produces (insulin resistance) and often loses the ability to produce insulin. Insulin therapies provide the body with the insulin it needs to provide glycemic control. With ultra long-acting insulin, the insulin injection has a unique molecular design, which is broken down more slowly by the body, providing a slow and steady release of insulin throughout the day with a once-daily injection.

What is Tresiba (insulin degludec injection)?

Tresiba contains insulin degludec, an ultra long-acting insulin that is used to improve glycemic control in people with diabetes. Insulin degludec stimulates the absorption of glucose, particularly by muscle and fat cells, and stops the production of glucose by the liver. It also enhances protein synthesis and inhibits the breakdown of lipids (fats) and protein.

Tresiba is available as a pre-filled pen called Tresiba FlexTouch. There are two dosages of Tresiba FlexTouch: Tresiba U-200, which contains 200units/ml, and Tresiba U-100, which contains 100units/ml. Once the pen is in use, it is good for 8 weeks either refrigerated or at room temperature (below 86°F). It is also available in a 100units/ml vial. With its slow and steady release of insulin, Tresiba is injected once daily, and the timing of the dose can be changed. Tresiba is injected once daily under the skin (subcutaneously), in the thigh, upper arm or abdomen. Injection sites should be rotated to reduce the chance of developing lipodystrophy, thickening or pitting of the skin.

Some of the most common side effects experienced by people taking Tresiba include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), headache, diarrhea, injection site reactions, and upper respiratory infection. Some side effects may be serious and require immediate medical attention, such as trouble breathing, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, extreme drowsiness, confusion, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat.

These are not all the possible side effects of Tresiba. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with Tresiba. Tresiba should not be taken during episodes of hypoglycemia. People who have a known allergy to insulin degludec or any of the ingredients in Tresiba should not take Tresiba. Tresiba is not recommended for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. Always consult your healthcare provider on the proper use of Tresiba before starting treatment and check on potential drug interactions with your other medications.

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