Semglee vs Lantus For Diabetes

Insulin is considered the most effective medication to lower blood sugar since it’s meant to mimic your body’s natural insulin production. 

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you might need to inject insulin to help meet your blood sugar goals.

There are several types of insulin, and they’re not all the same. 

This article will compare two long-acting insulins, Semglee vs Lantus.

What is Lantus?

Lantus is a brand name for insulin glargine, a long-acting injectable insulin for human use. Long-acting insulin like Lantus is typically injected once or twice daily in the morning, at bedtime, or both to help control blood sugar levels. The United States Food and Drug Administration approved Lantus in 2000.

Lantus can be used in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes or women with preexisting diabetes who become pregnant.

You can find Lantus in prefilled injectable insulin pens, vials, and syringes where you draw up your dose. 

Prefilled pens are preferred by many for their ease of use, especially for older patients with limited dexterity, poor vision, etc. Prefilled pens are also a better option for pediatric patients using insulin.

What is Semglee?

Semglee is a brand name for insulin glargine-yfgn, a type of long-acting insulin. It has been on the market much shorter than Lantus, with an FDA approval date of 2020. 

Glargine-yfgn is considered biosimilar to insulin glargine, so Semglee and Lantus are considered interchangeable. Like Lantus, Semglee is available in both prefilled injectable pens and vials.

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How do Semglee and Lantus work?

Semglee and Lantus are meant to mimic your body’s natural production of insulin. They are considered “basal” insulin, or the insulin that is slowly secreted throughout the day and night. 

The other type of insulin is called “bolus” insulin, which is secreted in larger amounts in response to eating. 

Some patients with type 2 diabetes only take basal insulin, while others require both basal and bolus insulin. Patients with type 1 diabetes typically require both basal and bolus insulin. This is because their bodies don’t secrete enough insulin on their own.

Insulin lowers blood sugar levels by allowing the glucose (sugar) to move from your bloodstream into your cells, providing energy to carry out vital bodily functions. If you don’t have enough insulin, glucose accumulates in your bloodstream, unable to enter your cells. 

Chronic high blood sugar can cause inflammation and damage over time, which is why controlling blood sugar levels in diabetes is so important.

After injection, Lantus starts to work within 1-2 hours and lasts for 20-36 hours. Semglee also starts to work within a few hours and lasts 24 hours. 

Neither Lantus nor Semglee has a peak, which means it works to lower blood sugar at a constant rate. In comparison, short-acting/bolus insulins have peaks to help lower blood sugar after meals.

Are Semglee and Lantus the same?

The active ingredient in Semglee is very similar to that of Lantus, so they are considered interchangeable and biosimilar products. This means that Semglee can be used in place of Lantus and vice versa, yet they are technically different drugs and aren’t the same.

Are Semglee and Lantus interchangeable?

Semglee and Lantus are considered interchangeable since they are so similar. In fact, Semglee is the first and only interchangeable medication for Lantus. 

That means that you could take the same dose of Semglee as Lantus and expect similar results in terms of lowering your blood sugar levels.

Semglee vs Lantus effectiveness

Semglee and Lantus have similar effectiveness. According to an analysis of nine studies, insulin glargine (the active ingredient in both drugs) is associated with better blood sugar control and reduced incidence of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in both old and young patients compared to other types of insulin.

How much Semglee and Lantus can lower your blood sugar depends on your blood sugar trends and how much insulin you take. 

The typical dosing schedule for Semglee and Lantus is to start with 0.2 units per kilogram, or ten units, and increase the dose gradually until fasting blood sugar levels are at their target.

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Similarities and differences


  • Both long-acting basal insulins with similar active ingredients, so they can be used interchangeably. 
  • Both are available in vials or prefilled injector pens.
  • They come with similar side effects and potential risks.
  • Both are approved for use in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  • Both aren’t recommended to treat diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is when blood sugar levels become dangerously high in patients with type 1. In the case of DKA, shorter-acting insulins are preferred.


  • Lantus has been approved for much longer than Semglee, which is a newer insulin on the market.
  • Cost differences and potential differences in insurance coverage.

Semglee vs Lantus side effects

The side effects for Semglee and Lantus are similar since they have a biosimilar active ingredient. Some of the potential side effects for Semglee and Lantus include:

  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or blood sugar less than 70 mg/dL
  • allergic reactions
  • injection site reactions
  • changes in body fat distribution (lipodystrophy), one of the more common complications of injecting insulin
  • itching
  • rash
  • fluid retention (edema)
  • weight gain

Which medication is cheaper?

According to GoodRx, here are the estimated out-of-pocket costs for Semglee and Lantus.

  • Semglee: One vial containing 1,000 units of insulin: $105-$280, depending on the pharmacy used.
  • Lantus: One vial containing 1,000 units of insulin: around $200.

If you choose a generic version (not Lantus or Semglee brand names), the cost for the same vial of insulin will be around $100.

Your cost for Semglee and Lantus may be cheaper than these estimates depending on your health insurance or prescription drug coverage. Otherwise, Semglee might be slightly cheaper at certain pharmacies vs Lantus, while the generic version (insulin glargine) is the cheapest.

Alternatives to Semglee and Lantus

There are several other long-acting insulins on the market alongside Semglee and Lantus. Some of the alternatives to Semglee and Lantus include:

Levemir (insulin detemir) vs Semglee/Lantus

Similar to Semglee and Lantus, Levemir is a long-acting insulin that can last up to 24 hours. It may last for a shorter period of time than Semglee and Lantus in some people, so it’s often injected twice daily. Levemir was FDA-approved a few years after Lantus in 2005.

Toujeo (insulin glargine) vs Semglee/Lantus

Toujeo is a concentrated form of long-acting insulin with the same active ingredient as Semglee and Lantus. Instead of the normal 100 units per milliliter concentration, Toujeo is 300 units per milliliter. 

Toujeo also has a longer shelf life compared to Semglee and Lantus (up to 8 weeks compared to 28 days), so it can be more cost-effective by not having to throw away expired insulin. The FDA first approved Toujeo in 2015.

Basaglar (insulin glargine) vs Semglee/Lantus

Basaglar’s active ingredient has a similar chemical structure as Semglee/Lantus, but it isn’t considered interchangeable because it is made differently than Semglee/Lantus. 

You can expect similar results when using Basaglar, but you might not be able to seamlessly switch from one type to the other like you can with Semglee and Lantus. Basaglar was FDA-approved in 2015.

Tresiba (insulin degludec) vs Semglee/Lantus

Tresiba is a newer long-acting insulin that might last even longer than Semglee and Lantus (at least 42 hours per the manufacturer). It is available in 100 units/mL and 200 units/mL concentrations. The FDA first approved Tresiba in 2015.

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Natural ways to control blood sugar

There are other ways to help control your blood sugar without using medications. Some people can manage their diabetes with these natural alternatives alone, while others use medications in addition to maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.

Dietary supplements

Some supplements have shown an ability to lower blood sugar levels in scientific studies. Some popular supplements for blood sugar management include berberine, cinnamon, resveratrol, magnesium, and chromium, to name a few.

Dietary supplements usually aren’t as “potent” as prescription medications, so you shouldn’t expect the same outcomes as you would with pharmaceuticals. 

However, they can be helpful in people who don’t require medication and offer an extra boost in addition to practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

Healthy eating habits

Your diet plays a big role in your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates (carbs) are one of the three main nutrients you need to fuel your body with energy. 

Carbs have the biggest impact on your blood sugar levels because they’re broken down into glucose, or blood sugar.

Choosing nutrient-dense carbohydrates that contain fiber is one way to help control your blood sugar naturally. 

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are all fiber-rich carbs that raise your blood sugar more slowly than refined carbs (including added sugar, grains made from white flour, etc.).

In addition to eating fiber-rich carbs, eating adequate amounts of protein and healthy fat with meals can help control blood sugar levels. 

Examples of protein include poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, soy products, nuts, seeds, beans/legumes, and dairy products like plain yogurt and cheese. Healthy fats come from sources like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and vegetable oils.

Physical activity

Being physically active helps naturally lower your blood sugar levels as your muscles take up extra glucose for energy. Both cardiovascular exercises like walking and running, as well as strength-based activities like weight lifting, are beneficial.

Frequently asked questions

What is the most common insulin used?

The most popular types of insulin include long-acting/basal insulin like Lantus and Levemir (insulin detemir) as well as short- and rapid-acting insulin like Novolin R (regular insulin), Humalog (insulin lispro) and Novolog (insulin aspart).

Insulin regimens vary, but a common dosing schedule might look something like this:

  • Basal insulin injected once or twice daily; doses should be 12 hours apart if twice daily and 24 hours apart for once daily.
  • Short- or rapid-acting insulin injected before mealtimes (2-3 times per day).

What is the best insulin you can take?

There isn’t a specific type of insulin that is “best” – what’s best for you will depend on how well it lowers your blood sugar and how affordable it is for you.

Insulin regimens vary depending on the type of diabetes you have, how sensitive you are to insulin, how long you’ve had diabetes, and many other factors. 

Ideally, you’d take both long- and short-acting insulin to help provide continuous blood sugar support, but you may only need long-acting insulin.

Developing an insulin regimen that helps you reach your blood sugar goals might take some trial and error. It’s also not uncommon to need to change insulin doses over time, depending on what your blood sugar control is like.


Semglee and Lantus share similar active ingredients and are considered interchangeable, though they are technically different medications.

Lantus has been around longer than Semglee, which the US FDA just approved in 2020.

Semglee and Lantus are long-acting insulins that work for up to 24 hours to lower blood sugar levels. They are usually injected once or twice daily and can be used for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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  1. Pandya N, DiGenio A, Gao L, Patel M. Efficacy and safety of insulin glargine compared to other interventions in younger and older adults: a pooled analysis of nine open-label, randomized controlled trials in patients with type 2 diabetes. Drugs Aging. 2013 Jun.
  2. Yaribeygi H, Jamialahmadi T, Moallem SA, Sahebkar A. Boosting GLP-1 by Natural Products. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021.

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