Long-Acting Insulin

What is long-acting insulin?

Long-acting insulins are insulin analogs that are steadily released and can last in the body for up to 24 hours. It is often used in the morning or at bedtime as a basal insulin to help control your blood sugar throughout the day. Insulin is made inside the beta cells of the pancreas. It helps regulate the glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream by stimulating the cells to absorb the glucose, which is needed by the cells for energy. Insulin also keeps the liver from producing more glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the body can lose the ability to produce insulin and if insulin is produced, the body isn’t able to use it properly (insulin resistance). Different types of insulin therapies, such as long-acting insulin, enables the body to get the insulin that is needed for optimal glycemic control.

Some of the long-acting insulins available in the US include:

What is Levemir (insulin detemir)?

Levemir contains insulin detemir, which is a long-acting, basal insulin that is used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It can help keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range by moving glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, and it prevents the liver from producing more glucose.

Levemir is available in a vial and pre-filled pen called Levemir FlexTouch, each containing 100 units/ml (U-100) of insulin detemir. Once the pen is in use, it is good for 42 days and should not be refrigerated but stored at room temperature (below 86°F). The vial is also good for 42 days after first use, and can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Levemir is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm once daily, or twice daily depending on your personal requirements. Injection sites should be rotated within the same region from one injection to the next to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy, an abnormal accumulation of fatty tissue under the skin at the site where insulin is injected.

Some of the most commonly reported Levemir side effects are: hypoglycemia, reaction at site of injection, upper respiratory tract infection, headache and weight gain. Some side effects, like anaphylaxis, can be severe and even life threatening. Levemir should not be taken if suffering from hypoglycemia or if allergic to insulin detemir or any of the other ingredients. Levemir is not recommended for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. Always consult your healthcare provider on the proper use of Levemir before starting treatment and check on potential drug interactions. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience side effects after taking Levemir or any other medications for type 2 diabetes.

What is Lantus (insulin glargine)?

Lantus contains insulin glargine which is a long-acting, basal insulin and helps keep your blood sugar levels at a normal range by moving glucose from the blood into the cells. Lantus also keeps your liver from producing glucose.

Lantus is available in a pre-filled pen called Lantus SoloStar and a vial, each containing a 100 units/ml (U-100) of insulin glargine. Once the pen is in use, it is good for 28 days and should not be refrigerated but stored at room temperature (below 86°F). The vial is also good for 28 days after first use, and can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Lantus is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm once daily, any time of the day, but at the same time each day. Injection sites should be rotated within the same region from one injection to the next to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy, an abnormal accumulation of fatty tissue under the skin at the site where insulin is injected.

Some of the most common Lantus side effects are: hypoglycemia, reaction at the site of injection, upper respiratory tract infection and weight gain. Some side effects, like anaphylaxis, can be severe, and even fatal. Lantus should not be taken if suffering from hypoglycemia and if allergic to insulin glargine or any of the other ingredients. Lantus is not recommended for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. Always consult your healthcare provider on the proper use of Lantus before starting treatment and check on potential drug interactions. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience side effects after taking Lantus or any other medications for type 2 diabetes.

What is Toujeo (insulin glargine)?

Toujeo contains insulin glargine which is a long-acting, basal insulin and helps keep your blood sugar levels at a normal range by moving glucose from the bloodstream into your body’s cells. Toujeo also keeps your liver from producing glucose, keeps the body from breaking down fats and proteins and helps the body make more protein.

Toujeo is available in a pre-filled pen called Toujeo SoloStar containing 300 units/ml (U-300) of insulin glargine. Once the pen is in use, it is good for 42 days and should not be refrigerated but stored at room temperature (below 86°F). Toujeo is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm once daily, any time of the day but at the same time each day. Injection sites should be rotated within the same region from one injection to the next to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy, an abnormal accumulation of fatty tissue under the skin at the site where insulin is injected.

Some of the most common Toujeo side effects are: hypoglycemia, reaction at site of injection, injection site pain, upper respiratory tract infection, and weight gain. Some side effects can be severe, even life threatening, like anaphylaxis. Do not take Toujeo if suffering from hypoglycemia or if allergic to insulin glargine or any of the other ingredients. Toujeo is not recommended for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. Always consult your healthcare provider on the proper use of Toujeo before starting treatment and check on potential drug interactions. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience side effects after taking Toujeo or any other medications for type 2 diabetes.

What is Basaglar (insulin glargine)?

Basalgar includes insulin glargine and is a long-acting, basal insulin that helps keep your blood sugar levels at a normal range by transferring glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. Basalgar also keeps your liver from producing glucose.
Basalgar is available in a pre-filled pen called Basalgar Kwikpen containing 100 units/ml (U-100) of insulin glargine. Once the pen is in use, it is good for 28 days and should not be refrigerated but stored at room temperature (below 86°F). Basalgar is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm once daily, any time of the day but at the same time each day. Injection sites should be rotated within the same region from one injection to the next to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy, an abnormal accumulation of fatty tissue under the skin at the site where insulin is injected.

Common Basalgar side effects are: hypoglycemia, reaction at site of injection, upper respiratory tract infection and weight gain. Some side effects can be severe, even life threatening, like anaphylaxis. Basalgar should not be taken if suffering from hypoglycemia. If allergic to insulin glargine or any of the other ingredients, do not take Basalgar. It is not recommended for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. Always consult your healthcare provider on the proper use of Basalgar before starting treatment and check on potential drug interactions. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience side effects after taking Basalgar or any other medications for type 2 diabetes.

Last Reviewed: April 2017
Last Edited: April 2017

Written by: Amna Rizvi | Last reviewed: April 2017
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