In addition to a low-calorie diet and exercise plan, your doctor may prescribe Lantus, a brand of injectable insulin medication used to manage blood sugar in people with diabetes. Leaving diabetes untreated can lead to health complications such as:
- kidney damage,
- loss of limbs,
- loss of sexual function,
- nerve problems,
- coma or even death.
Controlling your blood sugar levels can also reduce your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Insulin glargine is a synthetic form of insulin that releases a slow, steady amount of insulin in your body so that your cells can absorb sugar (glucose) and convert it into energy. It can be taken with or without other fast-acting diabetes medications.
Lantus (insulin glargine) dosage
In order to determine what dosage is right for you, your doctor or health care practitioner should monitor your blood glucose levels. The amount of insulin you need depends on many variables, such as stress, exercise, illness, the rate at which your body absorbs it, as well as any other medications taken or changes in your eating habits. You should never change or adjust your insulin dose without medical supervision or guidance.
The dose must be measured as accurately as possible, ensuring that you are correctly reading the digital display on the cartridge if you are using an insulin pen or pump, as it could result in an incorrect dosage. Even the slightest change in the amount of insulin in your body can affect your blood sugar levels. If you are not sure about how to read the display or how to inject insulin, seek advice from your doctor.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take this insulin medication with a fast-acting insulin. Typically, your starting dose will be one-third of your daily insulin requirements. The rest of the insulin needed should be made up of a fast-acting, pre-meal insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes and are not taking insulin, your starting dose is likely to be 10 units (or 0.1-0.2 units/kg), taken once a day. The dose of any oral diabetes medication you are currently taking may need to be adjusted.
Switching to Lantus from other insulin medications
If you have previously taken 300 Units/mL of insulin glargine, you may be able to convert to Lantus by initially taking just 80% of your previous dose to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.
If you have previously taken NPH insulin twice daily, you may also switch to Lantus by initially taking just 80% of the NPH dose. This is also to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.
If you have previously taken NPH insulin once daily, you may be able to take this medicine on a unit-to-unit basis.
Any time you switch forms of insulin, it is crucial to keep a close eye on your glucose levels for the first few weeks. Your doctor or health care provider may need to adjust your dose and advise you when to take other fast-acting insulin or oral diabetic medications.
How to use Lantus
Always make sure you read and understand the information leaflet before you take Lantus. When you fill a prescription, it is a good idea to check that there are no particles in the pen or vial when you receive the medication. Insulin glargine should be colorless, clear, and kept at room temperature. Cold insulin can be painful if injected. Do not shake the pen.
When you are ready to inject the insulin, choose a patch of skin that is not red or itchy. Wash your hands and disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol. The skin should be clean and dry, and the injection site should be rotated within the same area (stomach, thigh, or back of the upper arm) to avoid a skin condition called lipodystrophy.
Avoid injecting insulin directly into a vein or muscle because it could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Do not rub the skin after you make the injection. Never mix this medicine with any other type of insulin, and never share your pen or cartridge, even if you have changed the needle. Doing so could cause a serious infection or transmission of disease. Discard your used needles safely.
Lantus should be taken once a day at the same time unless advised otherwise by your doctor. Try to take the medication at the same time each day, as you will see the most benefit if it taken on a routine schedule. If the drug is not effective for you, or if you start to feel unwell (blood sugar too high or too low) while taking this type of insulin, tell your doctor right away.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.