Medically reviewed by Dena Westphalen, PharmD on July 30, 2019 — Written by Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD.
Republished with permission from Healthline.
What is Basaglar?
Basaglar is a brand-name prescription drug that’s used to improve blood sugar levels in:
Basaglar contains the drug insulin glargine, which is a long-acting form of insulin.
Basaglar comes as a liquid solution that’s given as an injection under your skin (a subcutaneous injection).
The drug comes in the Basaglar KwikPen, which holds 3 mL of solution. Each mL of solution contains 100 units of insulin glargine.
Basaglar has been found effective in improving blood sugar levels in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
A person’s response to diabetes treatment is often measured by testing hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). This measurement shows your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.
The American Diabetes Association recommends an HbA1c goal of less than 7.0% for most adults.
For Type 1 diabetes
In a six-month clinical study, adults with Type 1 diabetes took Basaglar in combination with mealtime insulin. (In people with Type 1 diabetes, Basaglar is always used with mealtime insulin.) At the end of this study, HbA1c was reduced by an average of 0.35% in people taking Basaglar and mealtime insulin. In this group, 34.5% of people had reached an HbA1c level of less than 7%.
In the study, another group of people with type 1 diabetes took a different insulin glargine (the active drug in Basaglar) medication and mealtime insulin. These people had similar improvements in their blood sugar levels, as did the people using Basaglar.
For Type 2 diabetes
In another clinical study, Basaglar was tested in adults with type 2 diabetes. These people weren’t able to improve their blood sugar levels enough with other insulin glargine products or diabetes medications that are taken by mouth.
In this study, people took Basaglar with an oral diabetes medication for six months. (In people with type 2 diabetes, Basaglar is sometimes used with other diabetes drugs.) At the end of this study, HbA1c was reduced by an average of 1.3% in people taking Basaglar with an oral drug.
In the study, another group of people with type 2 diabetes took a different insulin glargine (the active drug in Basaglar) medication and mealtime insulin. These people had similar improvements in their blood sugar levels, as did the people using Basaglar.
Basaglar is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in a generic form.
Basaglar contains the active drug insulin glargine.
Basaglar vs. Lantus
You may wonder how Basaglar compares to other medications that are prescribed for diabetes treatment. Here we look at how Basaglar and Lantus are alike and different.
Effectiveness and safety
Basaglar and Lantus contain the same active drug: insulin glargine.
Basaglar is called a follow-on drug to Lantus. This means it’s very similar to Lantus, which is a biologic drug. Biologic drugs are made in a lab from living cells. Follow-on drugs are highly similar forms of the original biologic drug.
Even though Basaglar is a follow-on to Lantus, it’s not a generic drug. Generics contain exact copies of the active ingredient of the brand-name drug. This is possible for drugs that are made from chemicals. But since the process to make biologic drugs is very complex, it’s not possible to make an exact copy of an original biologic drug.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers follow-on insulins to be just as safe and effective as the original drug. This means that Basaglar improves blood sugar levels just like Lantus does. It also means that Basaglar and Lantus cause similar side effects.
Basaglar and Lantus are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.
According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Basaglar may cost less than Lantus. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your dose, your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Basaglar side effects
Basaglar can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Basaglar. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information on the possible side effects of Basaglar, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of Basaglar can include:
- allergic reaction
- edema (swelling) in your legs, ankles, or feet
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- injection site reactions (pain, redness, itchiness, or swelling around the area of your injection)
- itchy skin
- changes in the thickness of your skin near your injection site
- skin rash
- infections, such as the common cold
- weight gain
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Basaglar aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
Severe hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar). Symptoms can include:
- irritable mood (being easily upset)
- fast heartbeat
- Hypokalemia (low potassium levels).
Symptoms can include:
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- feeling weak
- muscle cramps
- abnormal heart rhythm (a heartbeat that’s too fast, too slow, or uneven)
- respiratory failure (your lungs can’t deliver oxygen to your blood)
- paralysis (being unable to move certain parts of your body)
- Severe allergic reaction (described in more detail below)
Side effect details
You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertaining to it.
Here’s some detail on a few of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.
As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Basaglar. It’s not known how often people using Basaglar have allergic reactions to the drug. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)
- A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.
Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
- Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Basaglar. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Weight loss or weight gain:
Weight loss wasn’t reported as a side effect of Basaglar during clinical studies. However, weight gain is one of the most common side effects caused by Basaglar.
In a clinical study, people with Type 1 diabetes who took Basaglar gained less than 1 pound over six months of treatment. They gained about 1.5 pounds over one year of using the drug. In another clinical study, people with Type 2 diabetes who took Basaglar gained about 4 pounds over six months of treatment.
In fact, weight gain is a common side effect of all insulins (not just Basaglar). It’s actually a normal, healthy process because insulin helps your body store sugar (which you use for energy at a later time). The stored sugar can add to weight gain over time.
If you’re concerned about weight gain while using Basaglar, talk with your doctor. They can suggest diet and exercise tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Side effects in children
Side effects of Basaglar in children are similar to the drug’s side effects in adults. Two of the more common side effects seen in children are discussed below.
During studies, one of the most common side effects of insulin glargine (the active drug in Basaglar) seen in children was runny nose (rhinitis). In a clinical study, 5% of children with type 1 diabetes who took insulin glargine had rhinitis.
If you’re caring for a child who’s using Basaglar, and you’re concerned about episodes of runny nose, talk with your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend medical treatment if any is needed.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) was also a common side effect seen in children during studies. In a 26-week clinical study, 23% of children with type 1 diabetes who took a different brand of insulin glargine (not Basaglar) had episodes of severe hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar).
If you care for a child who’s using Basaglar, you should be familiar with the symptoms of hypoglycemia. This will help you to recognize if the child is experiencing this condition. If they’re having an episode of hypoglycemia, you’ll want to give them some food or drink to quickly raise their blood sugar levels. By increasing their blood sugar levels right away, you can help prevent a medical emergency.
As with all medications, the cost of Basaglar can vary. To find current prices for Basaglar in your area, check out GoodRx.com.
The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Financial and insurance assistance:
If you need financial support to pay for Basaglar, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Basaglar, offers a program called Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. This service offers discount programs, savings cards, and information on charitable funds available. To learn more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 833-808-1234 or visit the program website.
To read Healthline’s complete report on Basaglar, you can view it here.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.