Lantus (Insulin Glargine)
What Is A Generic?×
A generic drug is essentially a copycat version of a brand-name medication, offering the same safety, quality, and effectiveness, but often at a lower cost. When a brand-name drug's patent expires, other companies can produce the generic version. These generics contain the same active ingredients and work in the same way in the body as the original brand-name drug. However, they might differ in color, shape, or inactive ingredients. The appeal of generic drugs lies in their affordability; they provide a more cost-effective option for consumers without sacrificing the benefits of the original medication. This makes healthcare more accessible to a larger portion of the population, ensuring that more people can receive the treatment they need without the burden of high costs associated with brand-name drugs.
Lantus® is the Sanofi brand of long-acting insulin with the scientific name of insulin glargine. The drug mimics the insulin naturally produced by your body. Lantus® is given by injection and is a solution that provides a slow and steady release of insulin over time. A stable insulin concentration in your bloodstream helps maintain your blood sugar at a healthy level throughout the day.
Some common uses of Lantus insulin include:
- Type 1 Diabetes: Lantus is often prescribed to individuals with type 1 diabetes who require a long-acting insulin to provide basal insulin coverage.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Lantus may also be prescribed for individuals with type 2 diabetes who require additional insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
- Gestational Diabetes: In some cases of gestational diabetes, Lantus insulin may be used to help manage blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
Table of ContentsToggle
- How Does Lantus® Work?
- Why Does Lantus® Stand Out?
- How to Administer Lantus®
- Drug Storage
- Lantus® Dose
- Potential Side Effects
- Interactions with Other Drugs
- Cost and Accessibility
- Why Choose Lantus®?
How Does Lantus® Work?
After it’s injected, Lantus® works over 24 hours to help your body use sugar from the food you eat and make sure that your blood sugar levels don’t get too high or too low. It’s like a slow and steady fuel pump that ensures your body gets just the right amount of fuel (sugar) it needs throughout the day and night. Lantus® helps you maintain stable energy levels, keeping things balanced and running smoothly.
Why Does Lantus® Stand Out?
Lantus® is produced with high quality control and is trusted by major healthcare institutions and regulators. Several global health agencies, including the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, have endorsed the use of Lantus® for treating diabetes.
A key benefit of Lantus® is the user-friendly administration options for the drug. For example, Lantus® SoloStar® is a pre-filled pen that provides a precise, controlled dose through a convenient and streamlined process. Lantus® SoloStar® is a worry-free option for those who may be new to insulin therapy or prefer a more done-for-you approach to preparation for injection.
If you are seeking or undergoing treatment for diabetes, it’s important to understand the drug options and tools available for your care. In the next sections, you will find more details about Lantus®, including options for administration, potential side effects, and drug interactions.
How to Administer Lantus®
Lantus® offers several modes of administration for your convenience:
Lantus® SoloStar® Pen
This is a prefilled pen designed for easy and accurate dosing. It offers a streamlined process for injecting insulin, making the process straightforward
To demonstrate ease of use, the process follows these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Check the insulin for discoloration or clumps. It should be clear and colorless.
- Attach a fresh needle.
- Perform a safety test.
- Set your dose.
- Select an injection site and administer the insulin.
These are refills for use in specific insulin pens. They provide a convenient option if you already have a compatible insulin pen and only require a refill. Once the refill cartridge is loaded into your injection pen, follow the standard usage instructions to ensure you receive the accurate and controlled dose you intend with each injection.
Traditional vials containing Lantus® insulin are ideal for those who prefer manual measurement and injecting insulin into a syringe. Ensure you use a clean syringe, select the right dose, and inject at the recommended site.
Storing Lantus® vials or pens correctly is essential. Proper storage temperature and being mindful of expiration date allows you to be confident in the ability of the drug to regulate your blood sugar level and ensure the insulin you inject is safe. Here are some guidelines on storage:
Unopened Lantus®: Store unopened Lantus® pens, refill cartridges, or vials in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Always avoid freezing the insulin solution. If Lantus® is frozen, dispose of the drug and use a fresh (never frozen) vial or cartridge. Also, never inject cold insulin just after removing it from the refrigerator—allow it to warm to room temperature and then store at room temperature after opening (see details below).
Opened Lantus®: Once opened, Lantus® vials and pens can be kept at room temperature (below 86°F or 30°C) for up to 28 days. Do not return Lantus® vials or cartridges to the refrigerator once they are in use.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures and Direct Sunlight: Do not expose Lantus® to excessive heat or direct sunlight. Like freezing, heat and sunlight can reduce the effectiveness of insulin. Always keep the cap on your injection pen when it is not in use to protect the insulin from light.
Expiration: Always check the expiration date on Lantus® vials or pens and do not use them past the expiration date, even if they have been stored correctly. As with extreme temperature or light exposure, the effectiveness of insulin degrades over time.
By adhering to these storage guidelines, you ensure the Lantus® you count on to stabilize your blood sugar remains effective and safe.
Lantus® is supplied at a concentration of 100 Units/mL. Your dosage depends on your blood glucose regulation needs. When determining your dose, your doctor will consider your body weight and blood sugar levels under specific conditions, plus your other medications and overall health.
It is important to disclose any allergies, medical conditions, or other medications you’re taking before you start using any drug, including Lantus®. Always follow the instructions from your doctor when you administer your treatment.
Regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels during treatment is needed to ensure that the medication is effective at your current dose. If you need any adjustment to your dosage, check in with your doctor to revise your treatment plan.
Potential Side Effects
As with all medications, Lantus® may have side effects. Be sure to report any unexpected symptoms, severe side effects, or any other concerns about using Lantus®. Be alert and watch for the following side effects related to blood glucose regulation, allergic reactions, and method of administration:
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
Symptoms of hypoglycemia are sweating, rapid heartbeat, trembling, blurred vision, and confusion. Severely low blood sugar can be dangerous. Don’t delay in seeking medical attention—if hypoglycemia goes untreated, it can lead to unconsciousness or seizures.
Insulin therapies can cause weight gain due to its anabolic effects. Use of Lantus® may also increase appetite and/or fluid retention, which may lead to weight gain.
This side effect typically appears as swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. Edema may cause discomfort and can be a sign of heart or kidney problems that require medical evaluation.
Rashes and itching may occur as symptoms of allergic reactions. Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat are also possible with this type of reaction, along with shortness of breath and difficulty swallowing. Severe reactions can be life-threatening and require immediate medical care.
Injection Site Reactions
Redness, pain, itching, and swelling can occur at the site of Lantus® injection. Prolonged irritation might lead to localized skin thickening or pits at the injection site.
Staying attuned to potential side effects and seeking medical care for unusual or severe symptoms can help ensure your safety when beginning a new treatment regimen.
Interactions with Other Drugs
Other drugs might affect how Lantus® works or increase the risk of side effects. Examples include other antidiabetic drugs, ACE inhibitors like ramipril, disopyramide, fibrates, fluoxetine, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Each of these types of drugs could enhance the blood glucose lowering effects of Lantus® when used at the same time and increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Careful monitoring of blood glucose levels and dose adjustments are needed when Lantus® is used along with other antidiabetic drugs or other therapeutic agents that strengthen or prolong the hypoglycemic activity of Lantus®.
Other drugs known to interact with Lantus® include beta-blockers, clonidine, and lithium salts. These agents can either bolster or weaken the anti-diabetic effects of Lantus®. Some of these interacting drugs may even reduce or mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia. For these reasons, be sure your healthcare provider is aware of all the medications you’re taking, even if they are over-the-counter formulations and supplements. These steps, plus careful monitoring, are needed to ensure treatments are effective and cause no harm when taken together.
Cost and Accessibility
Lantus® is readily available, but the cost may differ by location, health insurance coverage, or due to other factors. Check with your insurance provider for details on availability and pricing. Currently, prices may still be high for some, and particularly for those without insurance, but hopeful changes are on the way.
As of March 2023, the branded list price of Lantus® was $438.07 for the pre-filled pens and $292.07 for a 10 ml vial. Also in March, Sanofi announced its plan to cut the price of Lantus in the U.S. by 78%, reducing cost to $96 for the pre-filled pen and $64 for the 10 ml vial. In addition, they will extend a $35 out-of-pocket price cap for a 28-day supply, with or without insurance. Sanofi has indicated that the change is meant “to ensure that no patient will pay more than $35 for a monthly supply of Lantus®” and it will take effect on January 1, 2024.
There are several alternative insulin products available that have therapeutic effects similar to those of Lantus®. These include:
Like Lantus®, Basaglar is a long-acting insulin glargine. It helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Basaglar and Lantus® have the same active ingredient but may differ in pricing, availability of pens, and storage recommendations. Basaglar was approved as a “follow-on” insulin in the U.S. rather than a biosimilar, based on regulatory classifications.
Like Lantus®, Semglee is an insulin glargine. It is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in patients with diabetes.
Semglee is categorized as a biosimilar to Lantus®. A biosimilar is a biological product highly similar to the reference product with no clinically meaningful differences in safety or effectiveness. Semglee and Lantus® may have different pricing and pen options.
Toujeo is still another form of insulin glargine similar to Lantus®.
The concentration of Toujeo is three times that of Lantus®, allowing for slower release into the bloodstream and a slightly longer duration of action. Therefore, different dosing compared to Lantus® is possible, with the potential to reduce nocturnal hypoglycemia.
Levemir, like Lantus® and the other alternatives above, is a long-acting insulin.
A notable difference is that the active ingredient in Levemir is insulin detemir rather than insulin glargine. This difference in the active ingredient may lead to variations in pharmacokinetics and onset of action compared to the insulin glargine products.
Each of these alternatives to Lantus® are designed to help regulate blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Yet, with different mechanisms of action, dosing, preparation, and pricing options among the available insulin products on the market, it’s essential for patients to discuss all options and weigh associated risks and benefits in collaboration with their healthcare providers before initiating any insulin regimen or switching products. These important steps will ensure the best outcomes in terms of both safety and effectiveness of treatment.
Why Choose Lantus®?
It’s worth having Lantus® on your list of options to consider in discussion with your healthcare team.
Lantus® has become a trusted tool in the global management of diabetes. Its long-lasting therapeutic effects, ease of use, and convenience make it a leading choice whether you are new to insulin injection or experienced with use of insulin to manage your diabetes.
- Consistency through stable blood sugar control that reduces the chances of unexpected highs or lows over time.
- Convenience by requiring just one daily injection to maintain a steady insulin level throughout the day and night.
- Confidence and peace of mind in a safe and effective therapy that is supported by many clinical studies and patient testimonials.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.