With tens of millions of diabetics in the U.S., it’s no wonder why medical researchers have worked tirelessly to develop a diverse range of diabetes treatments. These treatments have revolutionized the prognosis and quality of life for people with diabetes, widening the range of medications on the market. Within this selection of drugs are a few similar forms of insulin, like Basaglar and Lantus.

Both insulin medications are related, but not identical, types of insulin. Patients can’t switch between the two without first talking to their physicians. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and key differences between Lantus vs Basaglar.

Understanding Insulin Glargine

Insulin glargine is a synthetic, or man-made, form of long-acting insulin. The FDA approved it to treat diabetes in 2000, and it’s since become the most common form of long-acting insulin on the market.

Since it’s slowly released over the course of 24 hours, insulin glargine is thought to offer a lower risk of hypoglycemia than typical long-acting or basal insulin. Given that hypoglycemia is potentially life-threatening without proper treatment, this is excellent news for diabetes patients and their prescribing physicians.

Many patients take insulin glargine along with a form of rapid-acting insulin to achieve optimal blood sugar levels. However, as with any prescription medication, you shouldn’t combine insulin glargine with other drugs (including other forms of insulin) without first consulting your doctor.

If your physician recommends insulin glargine as part of your diabetes treatment plan, you may be prescribed Basaglar or Lantus, two of the brand names for insulin glargine. Currently, there’s no generic form of the medication. Both medications have several similarities and a few distinct differences, which we’ll explore in detail below.

Basaglar vs. Lantus

The following table provides a brief comparison between both medications:

Active IngredientInsulin glargineInsulin glargine
ManufacturerSanofi AventisEli Lilly
Year of FDA Approval20002015
What It’s Prescribed ForType 1 diabetes in adults and children 6 and older; Type 2 diabetes in adultsType 1 diabetes in adults and children 6 and older; Type 2 diabetes in adults
FrequencyOnce dailyOnce daily
How It’s AdministeredSubcutaneous injectionSubcutaneous injection
Available FormsPre-filled pen and vialPre-filled pen only
Average Cost$362 per vial$90 per pen
BCI Cost$140 per vial or FOUR vials for $380 ($95/vial)Get FIVE pens for $116.55 ($23.31 per pen)

Similarities Between Basaglar and Lantus

Basaglar and Lantus are both once-daily, subcutaneous injections of insulin glargine, meaning that they’re injected below the surface of the skin. You can choose to inject it in the thigh, stomach, or upper arm, and you should administer the medication at the same time each day.

With the same main ingredient, these long-acting insulins have comparable side effects and complications. The most common side effects include injection-site irritation, allergic reactions, hypoglycemia, and weight gain. Serious adverse effects can include heart failure, low blood potassium levels, and severe allergic reactions.

Other possible side effects include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Irritability

Some patients are allergic to the ingredients in these diabetes medications. If you experience any of the following signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), seek out emergency care right away:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Swelling in the throat, tongue, or lips
  • Stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting

How Are Basaglar and Lantus Different?

Though the chemical structure is identical, Basaglar and Lantus are not the same medication, and can’t be prescribed interchangeably. With the same active ingredient and chemical structure, where exactly does the difference lie? The answer comes down to variations in the manufacturing process.

Insulin is considered a biologic, which means that it’s made from living organisms. This makes insulin’s manufacturing process far more complex than that of your usual drug. This involved process also stops drug manufacturers from simply making generic forms of insulin when brand-name patents expire.

With this information in mind, let’s get back to Basaglar and Lantus. Lantus, which is manufactured by Sanofi Aventis, was the earliest form of insulin glargine to be released, earning FDA approval in 2000. Basaglar, manufactured by Eli Lilly, came second, hitting the market in 2015 (after Lantus’s patent expired). Since insulin is tricky to make, Eli Lilly couldn’t take shortcuts by copying Lantus, so they had to come up with a manufacturing method of their own. Thus, Basaglar was born as a very close sister to Lantus.

Basaglar was cleared for use before the FDA had started approving biosimilars for insulins. Therefore, Basaglar is known as a “follow-on” medication to Lantus, rather than a biosimilar. Two FDA-approved Lantus biosimilars are currently available: Semglee and Rezvoglar. Unlike Basaglar, Semglee is considered interchangeable with Lantus.

Bottom line, both medications are safe and effective at reducing patients’ blood sugar levels. However, researchers have not yet determined whether patients can safely switch between Lantus and Basaglar. Even amidst fluctuating insulin prices, it’s advised to stick with one for now, as recommended by your physician.

Comparing Costs: Basaglar and Lantus

Since Basaglar and Lantus are comparable in terms of efficacy, price is a crucial consideration. While insurance coverage may alter your individual price for these meds, we can compare their out-of-pocket costs.

Basaglar is typically less expensive than Lantus. The average price of a single 100-unit pen Basaglar Kwikpen can cost as much as $90, while the cost of a 10-milliliter vial (100 units) of Lantus can cost as much as $362. This cost disparity can be significant in the long term, considering that diabetes patients require daily insulin for blood sugar management.

With a prescription, Americans can save up to 90% on insulin through Buy Canadian Insulin. Patients ordering Basaglar Kwikpens can order 5 pens for $116.55 ($23.31 per pen). One vial of Lantus can cost $140 or 5 vials for $380 (or $90/vial).

Do Basaglar and Lantus Interact With Other Drugs?

Basaglar and Lantus interact with a few other medications, including ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, enoxacin, and ofloxacin. Other serious interactions include:

  • Other diabetes medications, like glipizide and metformin
  • Beta-blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Thiazolidinedione medications (TZDs)
  • Diuretics
  • Antidepressants
  • Corticosteroids
  • Clonidine
  • Angiotensin II
  • Fenofibrate
  • Beta 2-stimulants
  • Disopyramide
  • Drugs that contain estrogen, like hormone replacement medications and birth control

Patients are not advised to take Lantus or Basaglar if they’re allergic to any of the ingredients or have diabetic ketoacidosis. Additionally, although alcohol isn’t known to directly interact with insulin glargine, patients using this form of insulin are told to avoid it. Alcohol can cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, making diabetes more difficult to manage.

Basaglar vs. Lantus: What to Consider

Although Basaglar and Lantus are quite similar, your physician may note these disparities when recommending the best insulin for your needs:

Lantus Has Been Around Longer.

Lantus was FDA-approved in 2000, while Basaglar didn’t arrive on the scene until 2015. That’s not to say it’s any less safe than Lantus, but some patients feel more comfortable with medications that have a decades-long history.

Basaglar Isn’t Available in Vials.

Lantus is available in pen dispensers and vials, while you can only get Basaglar in a pen dispenser. For patients that prefer insulin in vials, Lantus could be the most fitting choice.

Basaglar is Generally Less Expensive Out of Pocket.

Basaglar tends to be less pricey than Lantus if you’re paying out of pocket. This can significantly affect patients’ ability to afford insulin, particularly for the uninsured. Make sure to talk to your doctor about all of the payment assistance options available to you.

Insurance Coverage Can Vary.

Your insurance company may only cover one of these forms of insulin. Or, your co-pay for one may be significantly lower. Call your insurance company to determine if you could save money by choosing Basaglar over Lantus, or vice versa. Your doctor’s office can also offer insights into your insurance plan’s coverage for insulin glargine.

Reactions to Different Forms of Insulin Can Vary.

Ultimately, everyone has a unique body composition and processes insulin differently. So, although Basaglar and Lantus have the same chemical structure, you may have different experiences with the two drugs. Your body may metabolize one more effectively, or one may trigger adverse reactions. The only way to know is to start with one after consulting your doctor.

Managing Diabetes with Insulin

Diabetes patients today must already overcome various hurdles to get the insulin they need. From shortages to fluctuating prices, the modern insulin market certainly doesn’t make it easy. However, if your physician has recommended insulin glargine as part of your diabetes management plan, you can rest assured that Basaglar and Lantus have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness.