Whether you’re managing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you may need insulin injections to help control your blood sugar levels. Lantus, which is the brand name for insulin glargine, is a long-acting medicine that helps keep blood sugar levels balanced.
How Lantus Works
As a long-acting insulin, Lantus helps your body maintain a normal blood sugar level over the course of about 24 hours. It is administered once a day as a shot beneath the skin, usually to your stomach, upper arm or thigh. The recommended dosage is typically administered at bedtime.
This medicine produces microscopic crystals of insulin into the body, which helps glucose absorb into your body’s tissues. In doing so, the amount of glucose produced by the liver is then decreased. As a result, your blood sugar levels are able to normalize.
The concentration of insulin glargine in each dose of Lantus is determined by your doctor in relation to your specific needs and body composition. At the beginning of your prescription, your doctor may monitor your blood sugar by ordering blood tests more frequently.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Lantus
Medicines that are administered via injection can cause discomfort or itchiness at the injection site. Some forms of insulin, like Lantus, may cause weight gain for certain patients. Low blood sugar and low potassium levels may occur if the concentration or dose of Lantus is too strong.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can include:
- Anxiety, irritability and fatigue.
- Irregular heartbeats, sweating and hunger.
- Pale skin, shakiness or a sensation of tingling around your lips.
Symptoms of low potassium can include:
- Shifts in mood, weakness and overall fatigue.
- Stiff, aching, cramping or spasming muscles.
- Digestive issues.
- Trouble breathing, numbness or heart palpitations.
Your prescriber should be aware of any other medical conditions you may have, as well as any other medications you take. This can help prevent adverse interactions between your other medication and Lantus.
Medicare Coverage for Lantus
The medical insurance portion of Original Medicare, Part B, only provides coverage for prescribed insulin in certain cases and when it is used with an external insulin pump. Because Lantus is administered via injection, it is not included in Part B coverage.
Medicare coverage through a Part D prescription drug plan may cover certain brands of insulin and the supplies necessary to administer it, such as the pen-style syringe used for Lantus. Additionally, gauze and alcohol swabs may be covered underneath a Part D plan.
Each Part D plan can have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs, and it is subject to change each year. Confirm that Lantus is included in your plan’s coverage. Deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance amounts may differ depending on the medication prescribed.
You can also review any available Medicare Advantage plans in your area. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover at least the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many offer additional benefits, including prescription drug coverage. These plans may help reduce out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and any supplies related to their administration.