Skip to Content
Reach blood sugar goals with long-acting insulin. Go >

Insulin glulisine cartridges

Generic Name: insulin glulisine (IN-su-lin GLOO-lis-een)
Brand Name: Apidra

Insulin glulisine cartridges are used for:

Treating diabetes mellitus. Insulin glulisine cartridges are usually used with a longer-acting insulin.

Insulin glulisine cartridges are a fast-acting form of the hormone insulin. It works by helping your body to use sugar properly. This lowers the amount of glucose in the blood, which helps to treat diabetes.

Do NOT use insulin glulisine cartridges if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in insulin glulisine cartridges
  • you are having an episode of low blood sugar

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using insulin glulisine cartridges:

Some medical conditions may interact with insulin glulisine cartridges. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you drink alcoholic beverages or smoke
  • if you have heart problems (eg, heart failure); kidney or liver problems; nerve problems; adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid problems; or diabetic ketoacidosis
  • if you use 3 or more insulin injections per day
  • if you are fasting, have high blood sodium levels, or are on a low-salt diet
  • if you have had or will be having heart surgery

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with insulin glulisine cartridges. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), clonidine, guanethidine, lithium, or reserpine because they may increase the risk of high or low blood sugar or may hide the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, if it occurs
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril), disopyramide, fenfluramine, fibrates (eg, clofibrate, gemfibrozil), fluoxetine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (eg, phenelzine), oral medicines for diabetes (eg, glipizide, metformin, nateglinide), pentamidine, pentoxifylline, propoxyphene, salicylates (eg, aspirin), somatostatin analogs (eg, octreotide), or sulfonamide antibiotics (eg, sulfamethoxazole) because the risk of low blood sugar may be increased
  • Thiazolidinediones (eg, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone) because the risk of heart failure may be increased
  • Atypical antipsychotics (eg, olanzapine), corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), danazol, diazoxide, diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), estrogen, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), hormonal contraceptives (eg, birth control pills), isoniazid, niacin, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), progesterones (eg, medroxyprogesterone), somatropin, sympathomimetics (eg, albuterol, epinephrine, terbutaline), or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because they may decrease insulin glulisine cartridges's effectiveness, resulting in high blood sugar

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if insulin glulisine cartridges may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use insulin glulisine cartridges:

Use insulin glulisine cartridges as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with insulin glulisine cartridges. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Use insulin glulisine cartridges within 15 minutes before a meal or within 20 minutes after starting a meal, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
  • If you will be using insulin glulisine cartridges at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use insulin glulisine cartridges. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • You may use insulin glulisine cartridges in an insulin pump if you are directed to do so by your doctor.
  • Insulin glulisine cartridges should be clear and colorless. Do not use insulin glulisine cartridges if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the container is cracked or damaged.
  • Use the proper technique taught to you by your doctor. Inject deep under the skin, NOT into a vein or muscle.
  • Injection sites within an injection area (abdomen, thigh, upper arm) must be rotated from one injection to the next.
  • Be sure you have purchased the correct insulin. Insulin comes in a variety of containers, including vials, cartridges, and pens. Make sure that you understand how to properly measure and prepare your dose. If you have any questions about measuring and preparing your dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for information.
  • Insulin glulisine cartridges begins lowering blood sugar within minutes after an injection. The peak effect occurs between 30 and 90 minutes after a dose. The effect usually lasts from 1 to 2 ½ hours.
  • Do not share pen or cartridge devices with another person even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices may pass infections from one person to another. This includes infections you may not know you have.
  • Remove the needle after each injection. Store this device without a needle on it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse or share needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Do NOT miss any doses. Ask your doctor for specific instructions to follow in case you ever miss a dose of insulin.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use insulin glulisine cartridges.

Important safety information:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, or blurred vision may occur while you are using insulin glulisine cartridges. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use insulin glulisine cartridges with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol without discussing it with your doctor. Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of developing high or low blood sugar.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, use insulin glulisine cartridges more often than prescribed, or change the type or dose of insulin you are using without checking with your doctor.
  • Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changes in purity, strength, brand (manufacturer), type (regular, NPH, lente), species (beef, pork, beef-pork, human), and/or method of manufacture may require a change in dose.
  • Illness, especially with nausea and vomiting, may cause your insulin requirements to change. Even if you are not eating, you still require insulin. You and your doctor should establish a sick-day plan to use in case of illness. When you are sick, test your blood/urine frequently and call your doctor as instructed.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take insulin glulisine cartridges before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • If you will be traveling across time zones, consult your doctor concerning adjustments in your insulin schedule.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. If they are often higher than they should be and you take insulin glulisine cartridges exactly as prescribed, tell your doctor.
  • An insulin reaction resulting from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) may occur if you take too much insulin, skip a meal, or exercise too much. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.
  • Developing a fever or infection, eating significantly more than prescribed, or missing your dose of insulin may cause high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Check with your doctor if you notice a depression in the skin or skin thickening at the injection site. You may need to change your injection technique.
  • Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular testing of blood sugar are important for best results when using insulin glulisine cartridges.
  • If you use insulin glulisine cartridges in an insulin pump, be sure you have a different way of using insulin available in case the pump fails. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including fasting blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c, may be performed while you use insulin glulisine cartridges. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use insulin glulisine cartridges with caution in the ELDERLY; if low blood sugar occurs, it may be more difficult to recognize in these patients.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using insulin glulisine cartridges while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use insulin glulisine cartridges, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of insulin glulisine cartridges:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Redness, swelling, itching, or mild pain at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; wheezing; muscle pain); change in skin to thick or thin where the injection was given; changes in vision; chills; confusion; dizziness; drowsiness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; headache; loss of consciousness; mood changes; seizures; slurred speech; swelling; tremor; trouble breathing; trouble concentrating; unusual hunger; unusual sweating; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org) or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of insulin glulisine cartridges:

Store new (unopened) cartridge systems in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze insulin glulisine cartridges. Store used (open) cartridge systems at room temperature, below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Do NOT store used (open) cartridges in the refrigerator. Store away from heat and light. If insulin glulisine cartridges has been frozen or overheated, throw it away. Throw away unrefrigerated or used cartridge systems after 28 days, even if they still contain medicine.

Avoid temperatures above 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees C). Do not leave insulin glulisine cartridges in a car on a warm or sunny day. Do not use insulin glulisine cartridges after the expiration date stamped on the label. Keep insulin glulisine cartridges, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. If you are using insulin glulisine cartridges in an insulin pump, you may need to store it differently. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider how to store insulin glulisine cartridges.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about insulin glulisine cartridges, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Insulin glulisine cartridges are to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take insulin glulisine cartridges or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about insulin glulisine cartridges. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to insulin glulisine cartridges. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using insulin glulisine cartridges.

Review Date: November 3, 2016

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide