If you have diabetes, injections of insulin can help you control your blood glucose levels. However, there are many versions of insulin available and it can be difficult to understand how they differ as well as which one is right for you.
To help you better understand the range of insulins available to you, here we explain the difference between two widely prescribed long-acting insulins: Basaglar and Lantus. We will detail clearly and simply their differences and similarities, as well as how they work, their side effects, and more. This should provide the basis to better understand your options.
Conditions treated by Basaglar and Lantus
Lantus and Basaglar are both types of long-acting insulin. They are prescribed to treat:
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults
- Type 1 diabetes in children aged six years and over
Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect your body’s ability to use a type of sugar (glucose) that the cells in your body need for energy. When you digest food and drink, glucose is released into your bloodstream. It is transported around your body in your blood so it can be taken to all the cells that need it. A hormone called insulin helps your cells absorb glucose from your blood.
Diabetes disrupts this in two main ways. Firstly, it can cause you to not produce enough insulin. Or it may cause your insulin to not work as well as it should. In both cases, this reduces how much glucose your cells can absorb and causes glucose to build up in your blood. Having high blood glucose levels can lead to serious health problems including strokes, heart disease, and organ damage.
Injecting insulin – whether Basaglar or Lantus – can help your cells absorb more glucose, lowering your blood glucose levels.
Understanding insulin and long action insulin
Insulin is a natural hormone found in your body that helps you maintain a healthy blood glucose level. It is made by a small organ in your body called your pancreas. Your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream where it helps to balance your blood glucose in two ways. Insulin accompanies the glucose in your blood and helps your cells absorb it. If you have more glucose in your blood than your cells need, insulin also signals to your liver to absorb and store the excess glucose so it can be used later when your blood glucose has fallen.
As well as the insulin produced in your body, synthetic (man-made) versions of insulin are also available. These work in the same way as the insulin made by your pancreas, but they have often been designed to be shorter or longer-acting versions.
Short-acting insulins are usually injected after a meal to help your body manage the glucose released as you digest it. Long-acting insulins are usually injected once per day to help your body maintain a healthy blood glucose level throughout the day and night. Long-acting and short-acting insulins are often used together. Lantus and Basaglar are both long-acting synthetic insulins. They can be active for up to 24 hours after injecting.
What is the difference between Basaglar and Lantus?
As well as both being long-acting insulins, Lantus and Basaglar also contain the same active ingredient – a type of synthetic insulin called insulin glargine. Despite this, there are differences between them. The FDA also does not consider Basaglar and Lantus to be biosimilar (not pharmaceutically identical).
Firstly, they are made by different pharmaceutical companies. Lantus is produced by Sanofi-Aventis and Basaglar by Eli Lilly. Both medications are injected under the skin (subcutaneous injection) but are done so using different devices. Basaglar is injected using a pre-filled, self-injecting Basaglar KwikPen or Basaglar Tempo Pen. Lantus is injected using a pre-filled, self-injecting Lantus SoloStar pen or by using a standard syringe.
Perhaps the most significant difference between them is the price. The cost of each medication without insurance varies by retailer and quantity, but when comparing self-injecting pens containing equal amounts Basaglar is around 25% cheaper than Lantus.
How effective is Basaglar vs Lantus?
Both Lantus and Basaglar are effective treatments for type 1 and 2 diabetes. A single daily injection of either taken consistently over time can help lower your A1C (a measure of your average blood glucose level over 3 months) to safe levels.
Independent research has compared the effectiveness of Basaglar vs Lantus and found both of them to be equally effective. In a 1-year study of 535 patients with type 1 diabetes, Lantus and Basaglar caused equivalent drops in blood glucose levels. In another 24-week study of 756 patients with type 2 diabetes, Lantus and Basaglar were again found to cause equal falls in average blood glucose levels.
Basaglar and Lantus cost comparison
Based on average prices Basaglar is generally cheaper than Lantus. For example, a pack of 5, 300 unit Lantus SoloStar self-injecting pens costs around $425, while the equivalent Basaglar KwikPen self-injecting pens cost around $326. This makes Basaglar around 25% cheaper than Lantus on average.
If you have insurance the cost for either medication will depend on the details of your healthcare plan. Contact your pharmacist or insurance provider to calculate your copay with your current insurance.
If you are approved for Lantus or Basaglar assistance through NiceRx you could get your prescription for only $49 per month. We may be able to help you even if you have insurance. Fill in our online enrollment application to find out more.