What is Levemir?

Levemir or insulin detemir is a man made form of insulin which works by lowering blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Do not use this medication if it has changed colors. Patients can use this medication once or twice every day. In case it is taken once, it should be administered with the evening meal. If taken twice, you should take the dose with the morning meal and evening meal. The evening dose should be 12 hours after the morning dose.

What is Lantus?

Lantus or insulin glargine is a long-acting acting insulin which works by replacing human insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin glargine comes in injectable form and is usually administered subcutaneously in the upper arm, stomach or thigh.

Similarities and differences between lantus vs levemir


Both levemir and lantus are long acting insulins, meaning that they take several hours before they start to work and the effects can last up to 24 hours. They are both considered to be insulin analogs, meaning that they are man made insulin with a slightly altered molecule structure compared to human insulin, but performs the same functions with a small difference which slows down absorption. Levemir has a clear appearance and the formula is made of dissolved detemir. Lantus also has a clear appearance and the formula is made of dissolved glargine. Both detemir and glargine are genetically engineered to mimic the natural insulin produced by the pancreas. Both medicines are available in cartridges or vials. These Insulins are administered subcutaneously once every day, although some studies show that levemir can be administered twice every day (always follow your doctor’s directions for how often to administer). As you use both insulin injections, you are supposed to rotate the injection site so that you can avoid adverse reactions.

The medications are usually stored inside a refrigerator or at room temperature away from moisture and light. Taking these insulin drugs can lead to the risk of hypoglycemia with symptoms such as

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • weakness
  • fainting

Other common side effects between them include injection site reactions, with symptoms such as redness, pain and swelling. However, levemir may lead to more injection site reaction compared to lantus.

The following are common side effects between these insulin drugs

  • Low blood potassium level
  • Confusion
  •  Increased heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Hunger
  • Headache

You may also experience allergic reactions as a result of using both levemir and lantus. In case you experience allergic reaction symptoms such as hives, swelling and skin rash, you should inform your doctor immediately.

Differences Levemir vs Lantus

Levemir refers to the brand name of insulin detemir while lantus is the brand name of insulin glargine. Whereas levemir lasts for 42 days once it is opened, lantus lasts for 28 days. Whereas levemir has a peak period of 6 hours, lantus releases slowly, therefore does not have a peak period. Unlike lantus, levemir does not result in precipitation when it is injected. Levemir has an extended action because its changed form makes it stick together so that it can be absorbed slowly. There are some differences between them when it comes to side effects. Levemir is less likely to cause weight gain compared to lantus. Other studies suggest that lantus has more negative effects on mitochondria compared to levemir. Levemir can be used by children who are above the age 2 years. On the hand, lantus is used by children who are above the age of 6 years.


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.