Jump to content

Photo

Lantus vs Levemir/ cost, effectiveness

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1
Chelle D

Chelle D

    Member

  • Members
  • 401 posts
Hi, I'm new to this forum.

Not really sure if I should be posting here, or in the introduction section.

I'm kinda upset, as I read many of the posts here.. .. My last A1c was like 10.5 I'm on 60 units of Lantus a night & doc wants me to increase it more. I see so many here are only on like 10-30 units a night & are maintaining well.
I know I need to take drastic steps to improve my bs numbers.

I hear that losing weight is hard with Lantus. I keep having to increase it more & more. If I lose any weight (can never get past a 10 lb weight loss), but I give up after 3 weeks, and in the 4th week, bam... gain it all back.

So, I started to look online for replacement of this Lantus. All I see equivalent is the Levemir... Or going to some sort of a NPH linsulin & always doing 2 shots a day. I guess I won't mind 2 shots a day, but then that's all the more cost regarding insulin needles.

So, does anyone know if Levemir is cheaper than Lantus? Some sites say the "replacement factor" is units per units... so, if I'm on 60 units Lantus, then it would be 60 units Levemir? Does levemir work as well? or do I need to split the dosages out?


Doc wants me to increase 60 units of Lantus by 1 unit every other or every third day until my morning bs's are consistently under 100. He said occasionally up to 120 okay, but wants the increasing units to the 100 fasting bs mark, so that the higher is only occassional, & not the norm. Does that make sense? He anticipates that I will need to go all the way to 80 units a night.!.. my co-pay on the 60 units (2 vials a month) is already almost too much to bear.. with all the other meds & with hubby's meds. Now son needs to start on antidepressants... It's all just about shooting me down to where I cant afford to by food. We're already going down to buying cheapest types of food possible, lots of ramen noodles , & mac & cheese dinners. Generic Hamburger helper- with using barely 1/2 lb meat in it.

Oh shoot... I got side tracked. Sorry so long a post. Mostly I'm wondering if anyone knows if Levemir is cheaper co-pays? or about the same? If so, then does it work as well as Lantus?

#2
poodlebone

poodlebone

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 4,960 posts
I believe that if you're paying out of pocket, Lantus & Levemir will cost around the same. If you have insurance they may have different co-pays for the two if one brand is preferred. I know my insurance won't even cover Lantus, only Levemir. NPH is cheaper and does not require a prescription. If you are near a WalMart, they sell it under their Relion brand (it is actually Lilly's version of NPH, so it's actually a brand name even though it says Relion). I think WalMart charges around $25 for a vial of it. Speaking of vials, they are cheaper than pens. Instead of screwing a needle onto a pen you would need a syringe to draw up the insulin. Also, many people reuse pen needles or syringes. Before I got my pump, I would just leave the pen needle screwed onto the pen and put the little cap back on it. I'd use the same needle for an entire cartridge and I was using Humalog, which meant multiple injections a day. For long acting insulin (I first used NPH, then Lantus) I always preferred the vials. I didn't need the convenience of a pen because I was always at home when I took long acting insulin. I would recap the needle and reuse it multiple times.

Some people find little to no difference between Lantus & Levemir. SOme may need to use more of one over the other. Many people do find they need to inject it twice a day (either Lantus or Levemir).
--
Liz
Type 1 dx 4/1987
Minimed Paradigm 723 Revel + CGMS
13mm Silhouettes + Sure-T infusion sets
Lifescan Ultra meters
Last A1c: 7/10: 5.4

#3
patricia52

patricia52

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 2,513 posts
Sorry I don't know about Levemir.I started insulin (Lantus) about 7 weeks ago. Levemir and Lantus cost about the same here. Many people on Levemir have to split the dose, so two injections per day. By the way the ramen noodles, hamburger helper and Mac n cheese raise your bg a lot making you need more insulin. You need meats and veggies. No bread, rice, or pasta. You may be able to get fresh veggies at a farmers market for less than store prices. I'm blessed to have fresh veggies in our garden. Eating healthy is expensive and so is diabetes. If you are struggling to pay for your meds, check with your doctor. He may have samples or you may qualify for assistance. Others on the forum can give you better advice. Check back often for other posts.
Patricia


Today is the first day of the rest of my life.


Lantus
Apidra
Diet & Exercise
Most recent A1C 5.6

#4
Chelle D

Chelle D

    Member

  • Members
  • 401 posts
yeah, when he said to increase the Lantus, I complained about what I was already paying, I know, another $xx per month for another vial of Lantus is cheaper than paying the hospital for complication care. But...

Well, when I complained a little, doc asked if there was a way he could prescribe that would make it cheaper. I don't think so. I mean, yeah with pills, they can write it for like 20mg tablet & you can break it in half if doc says to use 10mgs. He wanted to know why my prescription plan was that high... "If it's a co-pay, why is it higher for the prescription if you only have to use one vial or 2 vials?" I explained that my script plan is 20% of the cost. or $25 whichever higher. Well, I have to pay 20% per vial.

So... guess what, he gives me a Lantus pen sample. 3ML. gee... 5 days worth of Lantus. But I don't have pen needles!!

I already re-use syringe needles. I keep an "unused"/clean - no Lantus touching it... as an "air" syringe. Ya know, always use that one to put the air into the vial.
THen I re-use another syringe to draw the insulin & inject. About 4 days maybe? If I go longer, the needle tip wears down & I can really feel the difference.
My fear is that I hear if the insulin left in the tip of the needle crystalizes & then the crystals accidently get into the vial of clean Lantus, it makes the rest of the insulin not work correctly. THey say you can't see these crystals at all. That's why you're supposed to use a new needle each time. But I think I'm pretty safe using one syringe exclusively for pushing air into the vial.

Does anyone know if I can use this pen sample, kinda like a vial? ie, just use my regular syringes, push air into the pen via where the pen needle should go, & just
draw it into the syringe? I hope so, that's what I was going to do.

Really? you can buy NPH over the counter??? seriously? I guess I can call walmart & ask. Where do you live?

#5
Bountyman

Bountyman

    Señor Member

  • Seniors
  • 5,333 posts
  • Location95965
  • I am a:Type 2

Does anyone know if I can use this pen sample, kinda like a vial? ie, just use my regular syringes, push air into the pen via where the pen needle should go, & just draw it into the syringe? I hope so, that's what I was going to do.


I've done that. Here's my process. Dial up your dose on the pen - as long as your dose is under the syringe's limits. Holding the pen vertical insert the syringe needle into the pen. The syringe will balance itself in that position. Now, depress the pen button (this will take a little effort) and the pen will fill the syringe raising the syringe plunger in the process. This was done with the 12.7mm x 30G syringes. I have no idea if 8mm or 5mm syringes will do this as well.

               sisyphus.jpg

-Like Sisyphus, that's how I roll...-


#6
jwags

jwags

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 7,471 posts
  • I am a:Type 2
Many type 2's are Insulin Resistant so they have to use larger amounts of insulin. You could try to lower carbs in your diet and see if that allows you to use less insulin. My doctor is pushing insulin on me but my insurance doesn't pay for it. I have checked the prices of Insulin in Canada. It seems Lantus is cheaper than Levemir. NPH is the cheapest but many don't like the way it peaks and you may need 2-3 shots of it, but it is cheap. Even with Lantus and Levermir many find 2 shots work better than one.

metformin 2550 mg
Moderate carb diet 40-75 carbs a day
3 T of Coconut Oil daily

Vit D, CoQ10, Melatonin, Multi vitamin, zinc, B 12
Chia Seeds , Flaxseeds, fish oil, biotin, occuvite and zinc

Exercise- Tennis - 2 hours/week, Power Walking- 2-4 miles most days, Hiking in the summer on trails and in the mountains

diagnosed Feb 2007
Age 64

#7
bjchristian7

bjchristian7

    Junior Member

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
1-17-13

Hi Chelle:
It almost sounds like your more of a Type 1 Diabetic. However, I'm a brittle type i diabetic and my doctor suggested I look to see which cost the least amt. of money lantus or levemir. I'm going to research it. I wanted to share a couple of things with you.

Taking Lantus once a day did not work for me at all. I've been taking around 25 units twice a day for years. I also am in need of losing a lot of weigh. I read about your struggle with your weight and wanted to share something with you. I found that water aerobiccs helps you to slim down and eventually lose weight too. I w\ent form a 14/16 to a 5/6 and the only thing I did different was to take a water aerobics class 3 times a week and double time whatevedr the instructor did. I've not been going for a long time but need to schedule my taxi to take me back to the gym. Being legally blind I can't drive and had to retire from ICU nursing on March 9, 2000.

Try to find a gym close to you that has an indoor pool and also have water aerobics class. I got in with my gym on a deal and it only costs me 29.00 a month. So I take a taxi, I get discount coupons due to being legally blind, and need to get back into going to water aerobics because I've gain a lat of weight. So Chelle if you look around for a water aerobics class it'll be worth arranging your time to go to one at least 3 times a week. Once you get in whatever the instructor does if you double time it and then work your weight up to triple timing the exercises during the water aerobic class you will be able to use less insulin and you'll be able to lose weight and also lose inches.

I have no clue if I'll switch from lantus to levemir but I wanted you to know the Lantus insulin works better for a lot of people by taking it twice a day. I went from 25 units of lantus twice a day down to 5 units twice a day by going to water aerobics on a regular basis. It's the best exercise around. The first time I went to a water aerobic class there were people there due to arthritis and the couldn't exercise any other way and there was a man that was 6 weeks after he had a triple bypass and his doctor told him to find a water aerobics class becuase that was the best way for him to start exercising. I've known people that use walkers and canes to walk but once they are in the water doing water aerobics they are ok.

So Chelle, if you are still reading messages on this website. try water aerobics because you can and will lose weight and inches.

May God Bless You,
BJ Christian

Edited by Harold, 17 January 2013 - 10:22 PM.
removed e-mail


#8
Irish123

Irish123

    Member

  • Members
  • 161 posts
I don't have insurance and my Doctor was giving me samples but now I have to pay for it. I vial of novalog is 160.00 at walmart. I asked about the relion fast acting one and the Doctor said it is the old kind not human insulin. What does that mean??? Has anyone on here ever taken the relion ?

#9
Bountyman

Bountyman

    Señor Member

  • Seniors
  • 5,333 posts
  • Location95965
  • I am a:Type 2

I asked about the Relion fast acting one and the Doctor said it is the old kind not human insulin. What does that mean?


The Relion insulin sold at WalMart is human [rDNA origin] insulin. One has to wonder what else your "doctor" is confused about. :hmmmm:

               sisyphus.jpg

-Like Sisyphus, that's how I roll...-


#10
poodlebone

poodlebone

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 4,960 posts

I don't have insurance and my Doctor was giving me samples but now I have to pay for it. I vial of novalog is 160.00 at walmart. I asked about the relion fast acting one and the Doctor said it is the old kind not human insulin. What does that mean??? Has anyone on here ever taken the relion ?


Relion insulin is Regular or NPH. I know that at different times they were using Novo or Lilly, so it's not even generic. It's brand name insulin sold under WalMart's Relion brand. I guess that depending on which company they get a better deal from, you get either Lilly's Humulin or Novo's Novolin brand (but it will say Relion). Humulin and Novolin are not to be confused with Humalog and Novolog. Humalog/Novolog tend to start working (for most people) at around 15 minutes and is usually out of the system (for most people) around 4 hours. The peak action is usually around the 2 hour mark. Regular insulin (Relion, Humulin or Novolin) usually takes 40 minutes to start working and is finished around 6 hours later. Again, YMMV and it can start working sooner for some people or last longer for some people. Up until the mid-90's (when Humalog came out), Regular was the fastest insulin out there and it's what people used before eating, to correct high blood sugar and it's what people used in insulin pumps.

As Bountyman said, the types of insulin sold under the Relion name, or the Humulin/Novolin brands are human insulin. IT's the newer stuff (Novolog, Lantus etc) that are called analogs, because they change things around to make them different from human insulin and to give them different action times (faster, slower).

It can take some experimenting to move from Novolog to Relion but it can be done. You will have to inject earlier and not when you're just about to eat. The insulin will affect you for a longer time after taking it so you'll have to be aware of that, especially if you decide to do two injections close together, such as for a meal and then again for a snack 2 hours later. Before I had an insulin pump I liked to keep both Regular and Humalog on hand. I would use Regular for meals eaten out because those were almost always high in fat and carbs. The slower action of Regular worked much better for those.
--
Liz
Type 1 dx 4/1987
Minimed Paradigm 723 Revel + CGMS
13mm Silhouettes + Sure-T infusion sets
Lifescan Ultra meters
Last A1c: 7/10: 5.4

#11
Irish123

Irish123

    Member

  • Members
  • 161 posts
She actually is Great! I have been thru 3 doctors in the last year. I knew I needed to be on insulin because none of the byetta and victoza worked anymore. zi also found out I was insulin resistant. I am the one that thought she said that but she was explaining the old kind of insulin and the kind they use now. i got it wrong. I use lantus and novolog.

#12
Bountyman

Bountyman

    Señor Member

  • Seniors
  • 5,333 posts
  • Location95965
  • I am a:Type 2

She actually is Great...I am the one that thought she said that but she was explaining the old kind of insulin and the kind they use now. I got it wrong. I use Lantus and Novolog.


Good to know. Sucks to think someone here might have an inept professional on their watch. :)

               sisyphus.jpg

-Like Sisyphus, that's how I roll...-


#13
NoraWI

NoraWI

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 1,869 posts
  • LocationSW Wisconsin
  • I am a:Type 1

IT's the newer stuff (Novolog, Lantus etc) that are called analogs, because they change things around to make them different from human insulin and to give them different action times (faster, slower).


And to make them patentable. Otherwise, they could be sold without prescription (OTC) like NPH, Regular and the old and very usable, but now extinct, Ultra Lente. How else is BIG PHARMA going to keep raking in those huge profits?
NoraWI
T1 since 2002, MDI since 2004
Pumping NovoLog with an Animas Ping since May 2010

#14
GretchO

GretchO

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 943 posts
  • I am a:Type 1

And to make them patentable...How else is BIG PHARMA going to keep raking in those huge profits?


Actually, it's because they're considered biologics which have different rules for genericizing ("generic" biologics are called "biosimilars"). Mostly because biologics are proteins which tend to be difficult to "genericize". Even small changes in production/manufacturing can result in changes in the protein used in the biologics that can result in ineffective products, health risks, etc. It's just not that easy (or cheap) to make biosimilars. This is a good article about biologics and biosimilars.
Gretchen

MM 522 pump since 05/07; CGMS since 11/07

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

#15
jenb

jenb

    Senior Member

  • Seniors
  • 4,245 posts
Chelle - I think someone already mentioned this, but it probably bears repeating. If you have not achieved success using the Lantus alone and need to keep increasing the dose, it may be time to add some mealtime insulin (Novolog, Humalog or Apidra) to your program. Discuss this with your doctor. It may make a huge difference for you. Diabetes is very frustrating and when you feel that you're just beating your head against a wall it's time to do something different.

Perhaps I missed this, but what's your diet like? If you are still eating a lot of starchy carbs, replacing them with other choices can go a long way toward better blood sugar control. Even insulin users have an easier time and use less insulin with a lower carb approach.

Jen

#16
PReinie

PReinie

    Junior Member

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
For a while I was able to get a "generic" Lantus from a Canadian pharmacy but they no longer carry insulin as they determined they couldn't guarantee the shipping wouldn't be subject to the proper temperature controls.

I say "generic" because it really isn't the same formula as Lantus but it worked even better in my opinion. It was called Basalog (by Biocon, 8906018394525 if I can make out the bar code on the vial). It is rDNA and says glargine on the vial (as does Lantus) and is made by a company in India - hence the concern with shipping. The nice thing about it is I paid only around $60 US per vial In Jan 2012 (no insurance coverage used). The company was founded in Ireland, opened operations in India, and is now entirely in India as near as I can tell.

I'm an insulin dependent diabetic since around 1962 used Lente, Regular and later included Humalog and converted to Lantus, and Regular for a later peak and Humalog, all in the morning with additional Humalog as needed (sliding scale) throughout the day.

I use vials and mix to poke less: 8Hlog, 8Reg & 26Lantus. If I need more Hlog I inject the Hlog and Reg together, and having pre-filled all the syringes with air I pull in the Lantus and inject, making sure to NEVER push any Hlog or Regular remaining in the syringe into the Lantus vial.

When I mix the Lantus with the other the contents does turn cloudy as it (likely the Lantus) precipitates (all three initally clear). I injected this way for a week with no difference in BS compared with injecting Lantus separately. All three in one syringe are only in there for less than 30 seconds (usually less than 15). I have never experienced higher BS at the end of the Lantus vial using the mix. I've been doing this since Lantus came out.

You want more "proof"? My June A1C was 5.9, up from 5.8 from 3 months ago (2013). The doc says "whatever you're doing, keep doing it". (I don't tell him I mix.)

When I picked up Lantus (at CVS) they filled it with the pens and because I discovered it when I got home they wouldn't take it back. So here I am with 5 pens and no needles and no prescription for needles. Fortunately another diabetic used pens for his Humalog and gave me some needles in exchange for me giving him 4 pens (he normally used vials). When I got to the end of the pen there was still some in there that wouldn't come out (pen doesn't go that far) so I sucked it out with a syringe. The problem with doing that with a full pen is unlike vials there is no air in them and because liquids are incompressable it just doesn't work to push in a full dosage of air to get it out, but I like Bountyman's suggestion. I didn't think of that way, but for the end of the vial you can get a bit out.

Sorry to provide so much info!

To help keep your BS lower, do use less wheat/bready products (rice, corn, etc too) more meat, veggies and natural grains and take a 15 minute walk after eating even if it's around the office or back to the office after eating out. Take the stairs for a flight or two. (Packaged goods are normally high fat and sugars.)

Edited by PReinie, 24 June 2013 - 12:51 PM.
Corrections to typos


#17
johnbharle

johnbharle

    Junior Member

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
[QUOTE=patricia52;76120... By the way the ramen noodles, hamburger helper and Mac n cheese raise your bg a lot making you need more insulin. You need meats and veggies. No bread, rice, or pasta. You may be able to get fresh veggies at a farmers market for less than store prices. I'm blessed to have fresh veggies in our garden. Eating healthy is expensive and so is diabetes...[/QUOTE]

I hate dieting, but when i follow a strict diet i can cut my insulin dose. As Patricia said, everything white is out. Pasta, bread, rice, sugar (all my favorites :( ). But all is not lost. Look into the glycemic index. Foods with a low index do not raise my sugars. Bartley is extremely low and is a good substitute for rice. Black beans don't seen to give me too much of a problem either. Good luck!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users