Insulin glargine is used with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Insulin glargine is a man-made product that is similar to human insulin. It replaces the insulin that your body would normally make. It acts longer than regular insulin, providing a low, steady level of insulin. It works by helping blood sugar (glucose) get into cells so your body can use it for energy. Insulin glargine may be used with a shorter-acting insulin product. It may also be used alone or with other diabetes drugs.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, diabetes educator, or pharmacist.
Follow all package directions for proper use/injection/storage of the particular type of device/insulin you are using. Your health care professional will teach you how to properly inject this medication. If any of the information is unclear, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not inject cold insulin because this can be painful. The insulin container you are currently using can be kept at room temperature (see also Storage section). Wash your hands before measuring and injecting insulin. Before using, check the product visually for particles, thickening, or clumps. If any are present, discard that container. Insulin glargine should be clear and colorless. To avoid damaging the insulin, do not shake the container.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Measure each dose carefully, and use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Even small changes in the amount of insulin may have a large effect on your blood sugar levels. If you are using the cartridge form of this insulin and a special injecting device with a digital display, take care to read the display right-side up. If you read the display upside-down, you may inject the wrong amount of insulin. Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure how to properly use this type of injecting device.
Before injecting each dose, make sure the injection site is clean and dry. Inject this medication under the skin of the abdomen, upper arms, or thighs, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor. Do not rub the injection site. Do not inject into a vein or muscle. Change the location of the injection site daily and do not reuse the same site for two weeks to avoid problem areas under the skin.
Use this medication regularly as directed by your doctor in order to get the most benefit from it. You may inject insulin glargine once daily at any time during the day (such as before breakfast or at bedtime) but you should inject at the same time each day. Carefully follow the insulin treatment plan, meal plan, and exercise program your doctor has recommended.
Do not mix this product with other insulins or solutions, or use it in an insulin pump.
Do not change brands or types of insulin without directions on how to do so from your doctor.
Monitor your blood sugar on a regular basis. Keep track of the results, and share them with your doctor. This is very important in order to determine the correct insulin dose.
If you are measuring doses from vials, do not reuse needles and syringes. If you are using the cartridges or pens, use a new needle each time. Do not share your pen device with another person, even if the needle is changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (your blood sugar levels are too high or too low).
Injection site reactions (such as pain, redness, irritation) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of low potassium level in the blood (such as muscle cramps, weakness, irregular heartbeat).
This medication can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This may occur if you do not consume enough calories from food or if you do unusually heavy exercise. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using insulin glargine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other types of insulins; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Do not use this medication when you have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease.
You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness due to extremely low or high blood sugar levels. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Limit alcohol while taking this medication because it can increase the risk of developing low blood sugar.
It may be harder to control your blood sugar when your body is stressed (such as due to fever, infection, injury, or surgery). Consult your doctor because this may require a change in your treatment plan, medications, or blood sugar testing.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Check your blood sugar before and after exercise. You may need a snack before exercising.
If traveling across time zones, ask your doctor about how to adjust your insulin schedule. Take extra insulin and supplies with you.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially low blood sugar.
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially low blood sugar.
Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant. Pregnancy may cause or worsen diabetes. Discuss a plan with your doctor for managing your blood sugar while pregnant. Your doctor may change your diabetes treatment during your pregnancy (such as diet and medications including insulin).
This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. Your insulin needs may change while breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
A product that may interact with this drug is: rosiglitazone.
Beta-blocker medications (such as metoprolol, propranolol, glaucoma eye drops such as timolol) may prevent the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar level falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar such as dizziness, hunger, or sweating are unaffected by these drugs.
Many drugs can affect your blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Before you start, stop, or change any medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how the medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor about the results and of any symptoms of high or low blood sugar. (See also Side Effects section.) Your doctor may need to adjust your anti-diabetic medication, exercise program, or diet.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: signs of low blood sugar such as sweating, shakiness, loss of consciousness, fast heartbeat.
Do not share this medication, needles, or syringes with others.
Attend a diabetes education program to learn more about diabetes and the important aspects of its treatment, including medications, diet, exercise, and getting regular eye/foot/medical exams.
Learn the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and how to treat low blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed.
Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments. Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver and kidney function tests, fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
Keep extra supplies of insulin, syringes, and needles on hand.
It is very important to follow your insulin regimen exactly. Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you miss a dose of insulin.
See also the How to Use section.
Store all unopened insulin containers in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C). Do not freeze, and do not use insulin that has been frozen. If you are using the vials, store open vials in the refrigerator or at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from direct heat and light. Store in the carton to protect from light. Do not refrigerate cartridges or pens that are currently in use. Discard all containers in use after 28 days, even if there is insulin left. Also discard all insulin products after the expiration date on the package. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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