Lantus vs. Levemir


What is Lantus? What is Levemir?

Lantus is a Brand name for a man-made hormone product form called insulin glargine. It works by lowering glucose levels in blood. It is a long-acting form of insulin, a slightly different from other insulin forms that are not man-made. Lantus is used to for the treatment of diabetes type 1 and type 2.


Levemir is a Brand name for a man-made hormone product form of insulin called insulin detemir. It works by lowering glucose levels in blood. It is a long-acting form of insulin, a slightly different from other insulin forms that are not man-made. Levemir is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. Levemir can be also used to treat type 1for the treatment of diabetes type 1 in adults and children who are at least 2 years old.

Lantus Solostar Levemi rflexpen

Are Lantus and Levemir same thing?

Lantus and Levemir do have many similarities but they are not the same thing. They are both man-made long-acting form of insulin and they are both used for the treatment of diabetes type 1 and 2, and they are intended for daily management. Studies showed no significant difference in the effectiveness and safety of Lantus and Levemir for the treamtnent of type 2 diabetes.


They’re both absorbed slowly over a 24-hour period. Both products are basal insulin formulas, which mean that sugar levels in blood are lowered more slowly but they last much longer. They act as background insulin, with a slow feed that mimics the constant low insulin output produced by a healthy pancreas.

They are not used to correct sugar spikes or to treat diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis treatment requires short-acting insulin. However, there are some differences. Levemir is an insulin detemir solution, while Lantus is an insulin glargine solution. Insulin glargine -Lantus is made by recombinant DNA technology by using a non-pathogenic laboratory Escherichia coli (K12) strain as the production organism.

Insulin detemir – Levemir is produced by using recombinant DNA technology in yeast cells. Compared to glargine, insulin detemir does not form a precipitate upon injection. Detemir effects are extended because its altered form makes it stick to itself in the subcutaneous depot, so it is slowly absorbed. When insulin detemir molecules are dissociated, they readily enter the blood circulation, but there the added fatty acid in insulin molecule binds to albumin.

How do Lantus and Levemir work?

Both, Lantus and Levemir work by immitating basal levels of insulin in patients with diabetes. Insulin is produced by beta cells of the pancreas. In healthy individuals, a basal level of insulin is supplemented with insulin spikes during meals. Insulin’s increased secretion during meals is responsible for the metabolic changes that occur as the body transitions from a post – absorptive to absorptive state.

Insulin promotes glucose cellular uptake, particularly in adipose and muscle tissues, promotes energy storage through glycogenesis, increases DNA replication and protein synthesis by stimulating amino acid uptake by liver, muscle and adipose tissue, reduces catabolism of energy stores  and modifies numerous enzyme activities involved in glycogen synthesis and glycolysis. Insulin is required for protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and cell division.

Lantus and Levemir Uses

  • Lantus is used for the treatment of: diabetes mellitus type 1 in adults and children older than 6 years of age and diabetes mellitus type 2 with or without short-acting sulfonylureas drugs.
  • Levemir is used for the treatment of: diabetes mellitus type 1 in adults and children ≥6 years of age or type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults who require long-acting insulin for control of hyperglycemia.
  • Both, Lantus and Levemir are not indicated for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis. Short-acting insulins such as regular insulin are preferred for this indication.

Lantus and Levemir available dosages and forms

  • Lantus is available as a solution for subcutaneous injection in following strengths: 100 U/ml and 300 U/ml.
  • Levemir is available as a solution for subcutaneous injection in following strength: 100 U/ml. Levemir is also available in a form of implant for soft tissue use in the strength of 14.2 mg/mL.

Lantus side effects

Levemir side effects

  • Headache
  • Influenza-like symptoms
  • Dyspepsia
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Pharyngitis
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Lipohypertrophy
  • Pallor
  • Palpitation
  • Tachycardia
  • Local allergic reaction
  • Hypokalemia
  • Peripheral edema
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Headache
  • Influenza-like symptoms
  • Pallor
  • Palpitation
  • Tachycardia
  • Mental confusion
  • Redness
  • Urticaria
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Itching
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Lipohypertrophy
  • Local allergic reaction
  • Hypokalemia

Can you buy Lantus and Levemir over the counter?

No, Lantus and Levemir are available only as prescription products.

Lantus and Levemir price

  • Lantus 100U/ml, 10ml average price is about $135.45
  • Levemir 100U/ml, 5x3ml average price is about $359.94

Who can use these products?

  • Patient who is having or recently had an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should not use Lantus neither Levemir.
  • Patients who are in state of diabetic ketoacidosis should not use Lantus or Levemir.
  • Patients with liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure or other heart problem should contact their doctor before using these products.
  • Taking certain oral diabetes medications such as pioglitazone or rosiglitazone while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.
  • It is not known whether Lantus or Levemir will harm an unborn baby. Patients should tell doctor if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • It is not known whether Lantus or Levemir passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Patients should tell their doctor if they are breast-feeding a baby.

How should Lantus and Levemir be used?

  • Lantus is injected under the skin. Patients should follow all directions on their prescription label. Doctor may occasionally change the dose to make sure that patient get the best results. Patients should not use Lantus in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. If you use more than one type of insulin patients have to avoid accidental mix-ups by carefully checking their medicine label each time they use insulin.
  • The Lantus SoloStar injection pen contains a total of 300 units of insulin. The pen is designed to deliver from 1 to 80 units with each press of the injection button. Do not press the button more than one time per injection unless your doctor has prescribed a dose greater than 80 units.
  • Lantus is injected under the skin once per day, at the same time each day. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes. Do not mix Lantus with other insulins.
  • Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject Lantus. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
  • Levemir is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes. If you use this medicine once daily, use the injection at your evening meal or at bedtime. If you use the medicine twice daily, use your evening dose at least 12 hours after your morning dose.
  • Your doctor may want you to use a short-acting insulin in addition to Levemir. Always inject your insulins separately. Do not mix or dilute Levemir with any other insulin. Do not use an insulin pump.
  • Levemir should be thin, clear, and colorless. Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Choose a different place in your injection skin area each time you use this medication. Do not inject Levemir into the same place two times in a row.

How many times and how often can patients take Lantus and Levemir?

  • Lantus should be administered subcutaneously once daily at any time of day but at the same time every day. In patients with type 1 diabetes, Lantus has to be used with short-acting insulin concomitantly. The recommended starting dose should be approximately one-third of the total daily insulin requirements.
  • The recommended starting dose of Lantus in patients with type 2 diabetes who are not currently treated with insulin is 0.2 Units per kilogram or up to 10 units once daily. One may need to adjust the amount and timing of short- or rapid-acting insulins and dosages of any oral anti-diabetic drugs.
  • Levemir should be used once- or twice-daily subcutaneously.
  • Patients treated with Levemir once-daily should administer the dose with the evening meal or at bedtime.
  • Patients requiring twice-daily dosing should administer the evening dose with the evening meal, at bedtime, or 12 hours after the morning dose.
  • The dose of Levemir must be individualized based on clinical response.

What if I overdose Lantus and Levemir?

  • Patients should seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of insulin can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia.
  • With hypoglecemia, you may notice: headaches, weakness / dowisiness, trembling / tremors, difficulty concentrating, fainting, rapid breathing and fast heartbeat or seizure.

What if I missed the dose of Lantus and Levemir?

  • Patients should use the missed dose as soon as they remember. They should skip the missed dose if it is almost time for next scheduled dose. Patients should not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose. Patients should not use more than one dose in a 24-hour period unless their doctor tells them to.
  • Patients should get their prescription for their Lantus or Levemir refilled before they run out of medicine completely.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Lantus and Levemir?

It is generally recommended that patients using insulins abstain alcohol consuming, as it cancan cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes. Hypoglycemia is more likely to occur in patients who are chronic drinkers of large quantities of alcohol, and it can also occur after binge or moderate drinking, specifically when alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach.

However, if alcohol in some cases cannot be avoided, patients should try to drink alcohol moderately.  Moderate consumption of alcohol usually not affect blood glucose levels as long as patients have well-controlled and monitored diabetes.   Moderate consumption can be described as no more than 1-2 drinks daily.  A “drink” might be a single beer, or a glass of wine.  It is also recommend that the patient do not drink alcohol on empty stomach and to eat some food while drinking this small amount of alcohol.

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