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Insulin glargine

Generic name: insulin glargine (IN su lin GLAR gine)
Brand name: Basaglar KwikPen, Lantus, Lantus Solostar Pen, Semglee, Toujeo SoloStar, Lantus OptiClik Cartridge, Toujeo Max SoloStar, Semglee Prefilled Pen, Semglee (Vial), Semglee (Prefilled Pen)
Dosage forms: subcutaneous solution (100 units/mL; 300 units/mL; yfgn 100 units/mL)
Drug class: Insulin

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 13, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is insulin glargine?

Insulin glargine is a long-acting insulin that starts to work several hours after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours.

Insulin glargine is used to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes mellitus.

Toujeo is for use in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Basaglar, Lantus, and Semglee are for use in adults with type 1 or 2 diabetes and in children at least 6 years old with type 1 diabetes (not type 2).

For type 1 diabetes, insulin glargine is used together with a short-acting insulin given before meals.

Insulin glargine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Warnings

Never share an injection pen, even if you changed the needle.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use insulin glargine if you are allergic to insulin, or if you are having an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment).

Insulin glargine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old, and some brands are for use only in adults. Do not use this medicine to treat type 2 diabetes in a child of any age.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver or kidney disease; or

  • heart failure or other heart problems.

Tell your doctor if you also take pioglitazone or rosiglitazone (sometimes contained in combinations with glimepiride or metformin). Taking certain oral diabetes medicines while you are using insulin may increase your risk of serious heart problems.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Follow your doctor's instructions about using this medicine if you are pregnant or you become pregnant. Controlling diabetes is very important during pregnancy.

How should I use insulin glargine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Insulin glargine is injected under the skin, usually once per day at the same time of day.

When treating type 1 diabetes, use your short-acting insulin before meals as directed by your doctor.

Insulin glargine must not be given with an insulin pump, or mixed with other insulins. Do not inject insulin glargine into a vein or a muscle.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand how to use an injection.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Call your pharmacist if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it.

Your healthcare provider will show you where to inject insulin glargine. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Avoid injecting into skin that is damaged, tender, bruised, pitted, thickened, scaly, or has a scar or hard lump.

Toujeo contains 300 units of insulin glargine per milliliter (mL), which is 3 times stronger than brands that contain 100 units per mL.

Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the medicine your doctor prescribes.

If you use an injection pen, use only the injection pen that comes with insulin glargine. Attach a new needle before each use. Do not transfer the insulin from the pen into a syringe.

Never share an injection pen, even if you changed the needle. Sharing these devices can pass infections from person to person.

Blood sugar can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make you feel very hungry, dizzy, irritable, or shaky. To quickly treat hypoglycemia, eat or drink hard candy, crackers, raisins, fruit juice, or non-diet soda. Your doctor may prescribe glucagon injection in case of severe hypoglycemia.

Tell your doctor if you have frequent symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination. Ask your doctor before changing your medication dosage.

Keep this medicine in its original container protected from heat and light. Do not freeze insulin or store it near the cooling element in a refrigerator. Throw away any insulin that has been frozen.

Storing unopened (not in use) insulin glargine:

  • Refrigerate and use until expiration date; or

  • (Basaglar, Lantus, or Semglee) Store at room temperature and use within 28 days.

Storing opened (in use) insulin glargine:

  • Store the vial in a refrigerator or at room temperature and use within 28 days.

  • Store the injection pen at room temperature (do not refrigerate) and use within 28 days.

Do not store an injection pen with the needle attached. Do not reuse a needle or syringe. Place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container and dispose of it following state or local laws. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card to let others know you have diabetes.

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What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose. Do not use more than one dose in a 24-hour period unless your doctor tells you to.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Insulin overdose can cause severe hypoglycemia. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in your mouth, trouble speaking, muscle weakness, clumsy or jerky movements, seizure (convulsions), or loss of consciousness.

What should I avoid while using insulin glargine?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how insulin glargine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Avoid medication errors by always checking the medicine label before injecting your insulin.

Avoid drinking alcohol or using medicines that contain alcohol. It may interfere with your diabetes treatment.

Insulin glargine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of insulin allergy: redness or swelling where an injection was given, itchy skin rash over the entire body, trouble breathing, fast heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out, or swelling in your tongue or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • rapid weight gain, swelling in your feet or ankles;

  • shortness of breath; or

  • low blood potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • low blood sugar;

  • swelling, weight gain;

  • allergic reaction, itching, rash; or

  • thickening or hollowing of the skin where you injected the medicine.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect insulin glargine?

Many drugs can affect your blood sugar and may also affect insulin glargine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Frequently asked questions

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.