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Levemir vs Lantus

Drug facts and comparison

Uses

  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults.
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children aged two years and over
Get Levemir for only
$49 per month
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  • Type 1 diabetes in adults and children six years and older
  • Type 2 diabetes in adults
Get Lantus for only
$49 per month
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Summary

Brand name: Levemir
Brand name: Lantus
Manufacturer: Novo Nordisk
Manufacturer: Sanofi-Aventis
Active ingredient: Insulin detemir
Active ingredient: Insulin glargine
Indication: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children aged two years and over
Indication: Type 1 diabetes in adults and children 6 years and older. Type 2 diabetes in adults
Frequency of injection: Once or twice per day
Frequency of injection: Once per day
Duration of action: Up to 24 hours
Duration of action: Up to 24 hours
Injection method: Levemir FlexTouch Pen or a syringe
Injection method: Lantus SoloStar Pen Syringe
Average cost per 10ml, 100 unit vial: $330
Average cost per 10 ml, 100 unit vial: $306

Side Effects

Most common

  • Reactions at the site of injection –  itching, rashes, skin thickening, or pits forming in your skin (lipodystrophy)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Weight gain (less than Lantus)
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

More serious

  • Heart failure (more likely if used alongside a thiazolidinedione diabetes medication)
  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication that can cause anaphylaxis
  • Your blood sugar falling too low to dangerous levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Low potassium levels in your blood (hypokalemia)

Most common

  • Reactions at the site of injection, like itching, rashes, skin thickening, or pits forming in your skin (lipodystrophy)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Weight gain
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

More serious

  • Heart failure (more likely if used alongside a thiazolidinedione diabetes medication)
  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication can cause anaphylaxis
  • Your blood sugar falling too low to dangerous levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Low potassium levels in your blood (hypokalemia)

Drug Interactions

1 Severe Interaction
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacin, and ofloxacin
14 Serious interactions
  • Thiazolidinedione medications (TZDs) such as pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, taken to treat diabetes
  • Any other diabetes medications – metformin, glipizide
  • Beta-blockers, taken to treat high blood pressure – propranolol, sotalol
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, taken to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions – captopril, enalapril
  • Guanethidine and reserpine, taken to treat high blood pressure
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Clonidine, taken to treat a range of conditions including high blood pressure
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Fenofibrate, taken to lower blood triglyceride levels
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers, taken to treat high blood pressure, diabetic kidney damage, and heart failure – candesartan, losartan, valsartan
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Antidepressants, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – phenelzine, selegiline, sertraline
  • Disopyramide, taken to treat heart rhythm problems
  • Estrogen containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements
2 Moderate Interactions
  • Steroids used topically (on the skin) such as betamethasone, clobetasol, hydrocortisone, and mometasone
  • Diltiazem, used for the treatment of high blood pressure
1 Severe Interaction
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections such as ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacin, and ofloxacin
14 Serious Interactions
  • Thiazolidinedione medications (TZDs) such as pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, taken to treat diabetes
  • Any other diabetes medications – metformin, glipizide
  • Beta-blockers, taken to treat high blood pressure – propranolol, sotalol
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, taken to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions – captopril, enalapril
  • Guanethidine and reserpine, taken to treat high blood pressure
  • Diuretics, taken to make you lose water and salt, usually to treat high blood pressure – bumetanide, furosemide
  • Clonidine, taken to treat a range of conditions including high blood pressure
  • Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisolone
  • Fenofibrate, taken to lower blood triglyceride levels
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers, taken to treat high blood pressure, diabetic kidney damage, and heart failure – candesartan, losartan, valsartan
  • Beta 2-stimulants, taken to treat asthma – salmeterol
  • Antidepressants, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – phenelzine, selegiline, sertraline
  • Disopyramide, taken to treat heart rhythm problems
  • Estrogen containing drugs including birth control and hormone replacements
2 Moderate Interactions
  • Steroids used topically (on the skin) such as betamethasone, clobetasol, hydrocortisone, and mometasone
  • Diltiazem, used for the treatment of high blood pressure

Warnings

You should not use Levemir if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient insulin detemir
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Levemir
  • Are under 2 years of age for type 2 diabetes
  • Are under 2 years of age for type 1 diabetes
  • Are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis – a condition where high blood sugar causes high levels of ketones to build up in your body

You should talk to your doctor before using Levemir if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Levemir
  • Have any liver or kidney problems
  • Have low levels of potassium in your blood
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
  • Are over 65 years of age

You should not use Lantus if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient insulin glargine
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Lantus
  • Are under 6 years of age for type 1 diabetes
  • Are under 18 years of age for type 2 diabetes
  • Have diabetic ketoacidosis – a condition where high blood sugar causes high levels of ketones to build up in your body

You should talk to your doctor before using Lantus if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Lantus
  • Have any heart problems
  • Have any have liver or kidney problems
  • Have low levels of potassium in your blood
  • If you suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
  • Are over 65 years of age

Dosage

Once or twice per day

Once per day

Cost

A 10ml, 100 unit vial of Levemir costs approximately $330

A 10 ml, 100 unit vial of Lantus costs approximately $306

Levemir vs Lantus are both types of long-acting insulin that can be taken to help you manage your blood glucose levels, but they are not the same. Your doctor will prescribe the most suitable insulin for your needs, but it is important to know the differences between those available.

Here we unpick the key differences between Levemir and Lantus as well as detailing the similarities.

Understanding insulin and long acting insulin

Insulin is a natural hormone found in your body, it is made by your pancreas. It helps your cells absorb glucose from your blood and makes sure you maintain a healthy blood glucose level. If you have diabetes you may not produce enough insulin, or it may not work as well as it should.

Synthetic (man-made) versions of insulin like Lantus and Levemir work in the same way as the insulin made by your pancreas – either by helping your cells absorb glucose or by storing excess glucose in your body, to be used later when your glucose levels drop. They differ from the insulin your body naturally produces, as they are often designed to be faster or longer-acting versions.

Fast-acting insulins are usually injected after a meal to help your body manage the glucose released as you digest the food and drink. Long-acting insulins are usually injected once every 24 hours to help your body maintain a healthy blood glucose level throughout the day and night. Long-acting and rapid-acting insulins are often used together.

Levemir and Lantus are both long-acting synthetic insulins. They can be active for up to 24 hours after injecting.

What is the difference between Lantus and Levemir?

Although they are both long-acting insulins that are used to treat diabetes, there are some important differences between Lantus and Levemir:

  • Both Levemir and Lantus can be used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. Lantus has only been approved to treat type 1 diabetes in children 6 years and over, but Levemir has been approved to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children aged 2 years and over.
  • Levemir and Lantus contain different types of insulin. Levemir contains insulin detemir and Lantus contains insulin glargine.
  • Both Lantus and Levemir can be injected once per day, but Levemir can also be injected twice per day, depending on how quickly your body uses it.
  • Both insulins can cause similar side effects. However, in research comparing them, Levemir was generally found to cause less weight gain. Lantus caused fewer reactions at the site of injection, whether itching, rashes, or skin thickening.
  • Lantus is generally cheaper than Levemir. A 10 ml vial of Levemir costs approximately $330, while a 10 ml vial of Lantus costs approximately $300.

How effective is Levemir vs Lantus?

Independent research has shown that Levemir and Lantus are equally effective at controlling blood glucose levels.

review of scientific studies directly comparing the effectiveness of Lantus vs Levemir found the two insulins were equally effective at lowering insulin levels during the day and night. The only differences found between the two insulins were the degree of some of the side effects they cause:

  • Levemir was generally found to cause less weight gain than Lantus
  • Lantus caused fewer reactions at the site of injection than Levemir

Levemir and Lantus cost comparison

Lantus and Levemir can both be bought as vials of insulin to be used with a syringe, or as cartridges of insulin to be used in a self-injecting pen device.

Without insurance, the cost of Levemir and Lantus can vary by retailer. It will also depend on the amount you buy and if you buy vials or cartridges. Based on average prices for a comparable amount of Levemir and Lantus, Lantus is generally cheaper than Levemir:

  • A 10ml vial of Levemir costs approximately $330
  • A 10ml vial of Lantus costs approximately $300

If you have insurance the cost of either medication will depend on the details of your healthcare plan. To calculate your copay with your current insurance, contact your pharmacist or insurance provider.

If you’re approved for Lantus or Levemir 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.

Levemir vs Lantus FAQs

FAQs

Is Levemir the same as Lantus?

Levemir and Lantus are both long-acting insulins prescribed to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They can help you manage your blood sugar level over the course of a day, but they are not the same. The two insulins contain different active ingredients. Levemir contains insulin detemir and Lantus contains insulin glargine. This means that they may affect you differently.

Are Levemir and Lantus interchangeable?

Lantus and Levemir are both long-acting insulins that work in similar ways. They are different however, and are not interchangeable. If your doctor has prescribed either Levemir or Lantus to you, you should take the one prescribed and not substitute one for the other.

Is dosing the same for Lantus and Levemir?

Dosing can be different for Lantus and Levemir. Lantus is usually injected once per day. Levemir can be injected once or twice per day. The doctor who prescribes your insulin to you will tell you what dose to take and when. It is important to always take your insulin as directed by your doctor.

Can you take Lantus and Levemir together?

You should not take Lantus and Levemir together. Some insulins can be used together – this is the case for rapid-acting insulin and long-lasting insulin for example. As Lantus and Levemir are both similar long-acting insulins that have a comparable effect on you, using them together increases the risk of an overdose and side effects.

What insulin is comparable to Levemir?

Levemir is a long-acting insulin. Other long-acting insulins include LantusBasaglarToujeo, and Tresiba.

What insulin can replace Lantus?

Lantus is a long-acting insulin. Other similar long-acting insulins include Levemir, Basaglar, Toujeo, and Tresiba. You should not try to replace your Lantus yourself. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in trying different long-acting insulins to Lantus.

Whilst both Levemir and Lantus are similar long-acting insulins used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there are differences between them. If your doctor has prescribed either of the medications to you, that is the one you should take.

If you have been prescribed Lantus or Levemir, you may be eligible to receive your medication through a patient assistance program. At NiceRx, we help eligible individuals to enroll in patient assistance programs for prescription medications. With our help you could get your Lantus or Levemir prescription for a flat fee of $49 per month. Complete our online enrollment application to find out if you are eligible for assistance.