Levemir vs Lantus, Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, and Price

Posted March 15, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Are you struggling to find the differences between the different types of insulin, and which one is right for you? Here is our guide for Levemir vs Lantus.

In this article, we outline the main differences and similarities in general usage, dose, pricing, and other factors. Here is a quick summary table to give you a quick overview.

Quick reference table for Levemir vs Lantus

FactorLantusLevemir
Type Long-acting insulinLong-acting insulin
Brand/GeneralBrand nameBrand name
Age Restriction6 years and older2 years and older
ProcessMimics pancreasMimics pancreas
DosageOnce a dayOnce or twice a day
AdministrationInjected subcutaneouslyInjected subcutaneously
Peak TimeNo peak6-8 hours
Price$510/5 pens$560/5 pens
EffectivenessEqualEqual

What are Levemir and Lantus?

Levemir vs Lantus

Levemir and Lantus are two brand-name medications used in the treatment of diabetes in adults and children.

There are 6 different types of insulin available. Both of these insulins are considered long-acting and are used to improve blood sugar control in diabetes patients.

Also, both these drugs are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Novo Nordisk manufactures Levemir, and anyone above 2 years old can use it. It’s a clear formula, but it contains dissolved detemir, a different form of genetically modified insulin.

On the other hand, Lantus is manufactured by Sanofi and can be used by anyone above the age of 6.

Lantus is also a clear formula made with glargine, a genetically modified form of human insulin, dissolved in a special solution.

How they work – Levemir vs Lantus

As long-acting and basal insulin formulas, both Levemir and Lantus don’t peak like short-acting insulin.

They work by controlling the blood sugar for an entire day.

The system by which they operate mimics, or is similar to, the production of insulin normally undertaken by your pancreas. This production helps control blood sugar levels between meals.

Both Levemir and Lantus work via a slow feed effect that mimics the constant low output of insulin produced by a healthy pancreas.

As is the case with long-acting insulin, both these insulins should work evenly for 24 hours. However, they longer to start working compared to rapid-acting and regular types of insulin.

So, although they can help with the daily management of diabetes, you may still need short-acting insulin.

Short-acting insulin is a means to treat a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels and diabetic ketoacidosis (a dangerous buildup of acids in your blood).

There is no specific difference between how Levemir and Lantus work or any particular operating mechanisms that are pertinent to either.

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Inhaled vs Injected Insulin

Dosage – Levemir vs Lantus

The dose for both Levemir and Lantus depends on the specifics of your diabetic condition.

For this reason, you are strictly advised to follow the dosage recommended by your doctor. 

Both are available in 10-mL vials, or you can also opt for the 3-mL injection pens. The solutions contain 100 units per mL.

Neither Levemir nor Lantus should be used in an insulin pump. Doing so can result in severely uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

Many individuals find that the insulin pen version is the most convenient for injections. Using a pen allows you to administer an accurate dose easily.

Frequency

When it comes to frequency, Levemir should be taken once or twice per day. This frequency depends on how your body responds to the drug and the speed at which your body stops responding to the drug.

If you’re taking Levemir once a day, take it after your dinner and before bed. If you’re taking twice a day, separate the doses by 12 hours.

You will need to monitor your blood sugar levels when you first start taking Levemir. Be sure to report those numbers to your doctor, who can then suggest the best dose or make adjustments to existing doses where needed. 

Lantus, on the other hand, is taken only once per day. Again your doctor will suggest the best dose that will suit your blood sugar level target.

Administration of Levemir and Lantus

Both Levemir and Lantus are administered by injections in the same way. They are injected under the skin and never in a vein or muscle.

Make sure you rotate the injection sites every day and don’t use the same spot for each injection. The abdomen, upper legs, and upper arms are sites you can rotate through. 

Most importantly, do not mix either Levemir or Lantus with any other type of insulin, liquid, or even with each other.

Duration of action for Levemir and Lantus

Levemir absorption rate depends largely on your dose and whether you take one or two doses per day.

In general, Levemir reaches a peak concentration from 6-8 hours after you take it. This concentration of Levemir in your blood can remain close to peak levels for up to 24 hours.

Lantus has no clear peaks. So, the absorption is slow and steady, unlike Levemir.

Therefore, Lantus maintains a fairly consistent concentration for about 24 hours. But again, this absorption rate can vary depending on your dose. 

Price – Levemir vs Lantus 

Levemir vs Lantus reference guide

A box of Levemir pens is around $560 out-of-pocket cost from a retail perspective, whereas a box of Lantus pens costs approximately $510.

A box of either type contains five pens. These prices are not subject to any insurance coverage and may vary depending on the pharmacies. However, Levemir and Lantus are typically covered by insurance, but not Medicare Part D.

You may not be covered by insurance for insulin products. But there are ways to get insulin without having insurance.

The simple route is to enroll in Prescription Hope. It only takes a few details to start. You can go ahead and enroll here.

Side effects Levemir vs Lantus

The common side effects for both are hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), upper respiratory tract infection, and peripheral edema (swelling in the arm or leg). But these can vary based on individual patient factors.

Side effects specific to Levemir include headache, sore throat, fever, back pain, and cough. In comparison, side effects specific to Lantus include headache, eye problems, high blood pressure, and pain.

Which is more effective – Levemir or Lantus?

Both Levemir and Lantus tend to be equally effective for the daily management of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

According to a 2011 study review, it has been found that there is no difference in the safety or effectiveness of both these insulins. Further to this, review of studies concluded that Levemir and Lantus are similar in terms of safety and efficacy.

However, according to one study, it’s believed that users may need an extra dose of Levemir to ensure blood sugar control.

Lantus is absorbed more slowly and for longer than Levemir. This is because Lantus is not soluble after it’s injected under the skin. And with an insignificant peak, Lantus has more consistency in its course of action, helping deliver consistent blood sugar levels.

We are not saying Lantus is more effective than Levemir, but the dosage and duration of action with Lantus are convenient. The best drug that will suit you or is the most effective for your diabetic condition can only truly be determined by your doctor.

How we can help

Hopefully, this has provided a good overview and guide on Levemir vs Lantus. While both are effective, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking any action.

For those using insulin, costs can be high, and often insurance companies may not cover all your insulin meds.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.



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