Lantus vs Apidra

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For patients with diabetes, certain types of insulin can help in managing blood sugar levels and preventing complications. Lantus and Apidra are two such insulins that are prescribed for diabetic individuals. They each impact glucose metabolism differently but both have a significant role in glycemic control. Lantus, known as insulin glargine, is a long-acting insulin analogue used primarily to manage basal (background) insulin needs over 24 hours. It has a steady release profile and lacks the pronounced peak effect observed with some other forms of insulin. On the other hand, Apidra or insulin glulisine is classified as rapid-acting; it's mainly taken just before meals to aid postprandial (after mealtime) glycemic control by mimicking physiological quick-release of endogenous (body’s own) insulin after food intake.

What is Lantus?

Insulin glargine (the generic name for Lantus) was the first long-acting insulin analog that provided a steady release of insulin over 24 hours, marking a significant advancement in diabetes management. This basal insulin was approved by the FDA in 2000. By mimicking the body's natural release of insulin, it helps control blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. It is prescribed along with diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, or adults and pediatric patients (6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes.

On the other hand, Insulin glulisine (known as Apidra), is a rapid-acting human insulin analog used to lower blood glucose. Unlike Lantus which has prolonged effects, Apidra works quickly due to its fast absorption rate after subcutaneous injection—it starts working within minutes after administration but lasts for only few hours making it more effective at controlling post-meal spikes in blood sugar levels when taken shortly before meals.

Both insulins have their own advantages depending on individual needs—Lantus provides consistent all-day coverage while Apidra allows more mealtime flexibility—but they generally have fewer side effects than some older forms of insulin which can cause low potassium levels or changes at the injection site among others.

What conditions is Lantus approved to treat?

Lantus and Apidra are both approved for the treatment of diabetes, but they target different aspects:

  • Lantus (insulin glargine) is a long-acting insulin used to help control high blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes and adults and pediatric patients (children 6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes.
  • Apidra (insulin glulisine) is a rapid-acting insulin analog that helps control post-meal or post-snack spikes in blood sugar. It's typically taken by adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes shortly before meals.

How does Lantus help with these illnesses?

Lantus helps to manage blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes by mimicking the steady release of insulin that normally occurs in a healthy body. It does this through its slow and steady absorption into the bloodstream, maintaining consistent levels over 24 hours after injection. Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas which plays an important role in regulating glucose metabolism, allowing cells throughout the body to absorb glucose and use it for energy. In individuals with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, there's either insufficient production or ineffective utilization of insulin respectively. Therefore, by providing steady levels of insulin, Lantus aids patients in managing their condition and stabilizing their blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, Apidra acts more quickly but for a shorter duration than Lantus. It’s often used at meal times to control post-meal spikes in blood sugar level because it starts working within 15 minutes of administration and its effects last approximately four hours.

What is Apidra?

Apidra, a brand name for insulin glulisine, is a rapid-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes. It begins working quicker than some other insulins, starting to lower blood sugar within approximately 20 minutes after injection. Its effects typically last for about 2 hours but can continue up to 5 hours post administration. Apidra was first approved by the FDA in 2004.

As an analogue of human insulin produced using recombinant DNA technology, Apidra does not inhibit the absorption of glucose like SSRI antidepressants do with serotonin. This means that its side-effect profile is different from SSRIs; it doesn't cause sedation or weight gain (common side effects of SSRIs). Instead common side effects include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergic reactions at the injection site and weight gain.

The fast action and relative short duration of Apidra can be beneficial for managing mealtime blood glucose spikes and controlling overall glycemic balance especially in patients who have difficulty achieving optimal glucose control with other types of conventional or pre-mixed insulins such as Lantus.

What conditions is Apidra approved to treat?

Apidra is approved for the management of high blood sugar levels in individuals with:

It's primarily used to control mealtime blood sugar spikes, helping patients maintain a more balanced glucose level throughout their day. It can be used by both adults and children aged 4 years and older.

How does Apidra help with these illnesses?

Insulin is a hormone that plays significant roles in many processes in the body, affecting glucose metabolism and energy production, and it's also heavily involved in maintaining blood sugar levels within normal ranges. Similar to norepinephrine's role in depression, irregular insulin levels have been implicated in diabetes. Apidra works by increasing the availability of insulin in the body, thereby controlling high blood sugar level symptoms associated with diabetes. Its rapid action on glucose uptake may also play roles in its efficacy as an antidiabetic drug. Since it does not significantly affect basal insulin levels (insulin needed at all times), it is often prescribed when a patient requires a faster-acting insulin for mealtime coverage to control post-mealtime spikes (such as Lantus), or may be combined with long-acting insulins.

How effective are both Lantus and Apidra?

Both insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin glulisine (Apidra) are modern insulins that have established histories of success in managing blood glucose levels for patients with diabetes. They were initially approved by the FDA only three years apart, in 2000 for Lantus and 2004 for Apidra respectively. Since they act on different phases of blood sugar control, they may be prescribed under different circumstances.

The effectiveness of Lantus and Apidra in regulating blood glucose levels was directly studied in a randomized controlled trial; the two insulins showed similar efficacy at controlling overall HbA1c levels as well as similar safety profiles when used together. A study from 2016 compared basal-bolus treatment using Lantus against bolus-only treatment with rapid-acting Apidra and found that adding a basal component improved glycemic control without increasing hypoglycemia risk.

A meta-analysis report on Lantus demonstrated its effectiveness at maintaining long-term glycemic control over 24 hours due to its slow-release properties. The same study reports that it is often preferred due to its once-daily dosing convenience, which can improve patient adherence to therapy regimen.

In contrast, Apidra is a rapid-acting insulin analog intended to mimic the body's natural mealtime insulin response. Research indicates it begins working within approximately 15 minutes after injection and has an effective duration between one to four hours depending on individual absorption rates. This makes it ideal for pre-meal administration or correction doses where immediate action is required.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Lantus typically prescribed?

Dosages of Lantus (insulin glargine) vary widely among individuals, depending on factors like body weight and overall control of blood sugar levels. However, it is typically started at 0.2 units/kg or up to 10 units per day in adults. In children and adolescents, the starting dosage should be determined by a healthcare professional according to individual needs. The dosage can be adjusted every few days based on blood glucose monitoring results until optimal glycemic control is achieved. There isn't a maximum dosage for Lantus that must not be exceeded as it depends highly on patient's condition but any dosing adjustments should always be carried out under medical supervision.

In contrast, Apidra (insulin glulisine) is usually given just before meals with doses tailored to the individual's metabolic needs, eating habits and other lifestyle variables. In adults, an initial pre-meal dose often ranges from 4-6 units but may vary greatly between individuals again depending upon multiple factors as above including their sensitivity to insulin.

At what dose is Apidra typically prescribed?

Apidra treatment is typically initiated at a dosage tailored to an individual's metabolic needs, blood glucose monitoring results and glycemic control goal. Dosage adjustments can be done every day or every meal as needed. Apidra should generally be given within 15 minutes before a meal or immediately after a meal. An additional dose of Apidra may also be administered when needed based on blood glucose monitoring. The maximum dosage has not been defined but always requires close medical supervision and frequent patient self-monitoring of blood glucose levels.

What are the most common side effects for Lantus?

Common side effects of Lantus and Apidra can include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause symptoms including anxiety, nervousness, tremor, and sweating
  • Upper respiratory tract infection (symptoms may include sinusitis or pharyngitis)
  • Injection site reactions such as redness or swelling
  • Weight gain
  • Allergic reactions, which might manifest as a rash
  • Fluid retention or edema
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in body fat distribution around the area where you inject your insulin

Less common but more serious side effects could include severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Always seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic response like difficulty breathing or swallowing.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Lantus?

With both Lantus and Apidra, there's a risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which may manifest as:

  • Intense hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Shaky or jittery feelings
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating or sudden chills

In severe cases, low blood sugar can cause confusion, loss of consciousness, seizure, or even death.

Additionally, these insulins could potentially lead to systemic allergic reactions such as:

  • Rashes over the entire body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your face and throat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Feeling faint or dizzy

Furthermore, these medications might cause changes in fat tissue at the injection site (lipodystrophy), which can affect insulin absorption. Lastly, fluid retention and heart failure with use of TZDs (Thiazolidinediones) is observed when used alongside insulin like Lantus and Apidra.

If you experience any signs of hypoglycemia or other serious side effects mentioned above while using either Lantus or Apidra insulin products seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Apidra?

Apidra, like many insulin medications, can have a variety of side effects that patients should be aware of:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can cause symptoms such as headache, irritability, dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Rash or reactions at the injection site
  • Mild nausea and stomach pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating and feeling anxious due to low blood sugar levels
  • Rapid heartbeat if there's an allergic reaction or severe hypoglycemia
  • Swelling in hands or feet.

Remember to always consult your healthcare provider for any unusual effects after starting a new medication.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Apidra?

While Apidra is generally considered safe, it can cause a number of side effects in some patients. If you're taking this medication, watch out for:

  • Symptoms of allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Cool, sweaty skin
  • Difficulty with balance and movement coordination
  • Severe hunger pangs followed by numbness in mouth/lips
  • Fast heartbeats; irregular heart rhythms Should any of these symptoms occur while using Apidra, immediate medical attention is required.

Contraindications for Lantus and Apidra?

Both Lantus and Apidra, along with most other insulin medications, may cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar in some people. If you notice symptoms of hypoglycemia such as dizziness, shaking, sweating or increased hunger please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Lantus nor Apidra should be used if you are allergic to insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin glulisine (Apidra). Always inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking; this includes over-the-counter drugs and supplements as well as prescription medicines.

It's important to note that certain oral diabetes medicines can increase the risk of serious heart problems when used with either Lantus or Apidra. Additionally, these insulins may not work as well when taken alongside corticosteroids, diuretics, thyroid medicine among others due to drug interactions. Always consult your healthcare professional for advice on managing these potential issues.

How much do Lantus and Apidra cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for a 10 ml vial of Lantus (insulin glargine) averages around $300, which is equivalent to approximately $10–$20/day depending on your required dose.
  • Alternatively, the cost for a 10 ml vial of Apidra (insulin glulisine) is around $270 and works out to roughly $9-$18 per day based on dosing requirements.

Therefore, if you have higher dosage needs (i.e., more than 50 units/day), then brand-name Apidra may be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Note that cost should not be the primary consideration in deciding which insulin product best suits your individual health needs.

As it stands currently, there are no generic versions of either Lantus or Apidra available in the market. Insulin prices can vary significantly depending upon insurance coverage and location. It is always advised to discuss options with your healthcare provider or pharmacist who understand both clinical aspects and costs associated with different medications.

Popularity of Lantus and Apidra

Insulin glargine, marketed under the brand name Lantus among others, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 7.2 million people in the US in 2020. This long-acting insulin accounted for a substantial portion of insulin prescriptions and is typically used once daily for maintaining baseline (background) insulin levels.

Insulin glulisine, known by the brand name Apidra, was prescribed to approximately 1.4 million individuals in the USA during that same year. As a rapid-acting insulin, it's designed for use at mealtime or shortly after meals to control spikes in blood sugar levels caused by food intake. Its usage has remained relatively steady over recent years.

It should be noted that these two insulins are often used together as part of an individualized treatment plan for managing diabetes effectively: Apidra handles quick response needs while Lantus provides sustained background coverage.


Both Lantus (insulin glargine) and Apidra (insulin glulisine) are forms of insulin used in the management of diabetes. They have been supported by numerous clinical studies that show their effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels compared to placebo treatments. However, these two insulins serve different purposes and thus they might be combined for comprehensive glycemic control. This combination is subject to careful consideration by a physician due to potential interactions.

Lantus acts as a long-acting basal insulin, providing consistent glucose-lowering effect over 24 hours with once-daily dosing. It's often prescribed as the mainstay insulin therapy. On the other hand, Apidra is a rapid-acting insulin analog intended for mealtime use or in continuous subcutaneous infusion pumps; it begins working faster than regular human insulin but its effects don't last as long.

Both Lantus and Apidra have generic versions available which can offer significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out of pocket. Both may require an adjustment period where doses are fine-tuned based on blood sugar monitoring results.

The side effect profile is similar between the two drugs — both being generally well-tolerated — but hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) remains the most common adverse event associated with all insulins including Lantus and Apidra. Patients must closely monitor their blood sugars, especially when starting treatment or changing doses, and should seek medical help immediately if they notice symptoms of severe hypoglycemia such as confusion, seizure or loss of consciousness.