Insulin glargine is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat your diabetes by keeping your blood sugar in control.
Diabetes is a condition where your body is unable to produce enough insulin to control your blood sugar levels or insulin becomes ineffective (insulin resistance).
This medicine is meant to be used as part of a complete diabetes care programme that should include exercise, a healthy diet and regular monitoring of blood sugar.
Use Insulin glargine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not administer more or less than instructed by your doctor as small changes in the amount of this medicine may affect your blood sugar level.
This medicine should be administered subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the thigh, upper arm or abdomen area). Try to administer it at the same time each day.
Insulin glargine is available as a vial and as a pre-filled pen. Make sure you know how to use the specific device you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. This medicine may become ineffective if your insulin pen does not work properly.
How to use insulin vial:
- Gather all the supplies you will need for injection (e.g. vial, syringe, alcohol swab, cotton).
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Pull off the protective colour cap of the medicine (on the top of the vial) then you will see a gray rubber stopper. Wipe the top of the gray rubber stopper with alcohol swab.
- Roll the vial between your hands in a horizontal (flat) position until the insulin suspension is evenly mixed. Do not shake the vial.
- Remove the needle cover of the syringe recommended by your doctor. Draw air, equal to your required dose, into the syringe by pulling back the plunger.
- Put the vial on a flat surface then insert the needle down the gray rubber stopper.
- Push the plunger of the syringe down to inject the air and keep the needle inside the vial.
- Turn the vial upside down. Slowly pull back the plunger to fill the syringe with your dose.
- Keep the needle inside the vial. To remove air bubbles, gently tap the needle with your fingers until the air bubbles rise to the top of syringe then slowly push the plunger up. Pull the plunger back down to measure your required dose.
- Remove the prepared syringe and needle from the vial and hold it in your hand that will inject the medicine.
- Wipe the selected injection site with alcohol swab and pinch the skin using your other hand. Push the plunger of the syringe as far as it will go to deliver your dose.
- Slowly let go of the skin and gently pull the needle out of the skin. Do not recap the needle.
- Place a cotton ball over the injection site and press for several seconds.
- Dispose your used needles and syringes according to your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions. Use new needle and syringe for each injection.
Ensure that you are using the correct type of syringe. Check with your doctor or nurse if you are not sure.
How to use the insulin pre-filled pen:
- Prepare the injection pen as instructed by your doctor or nurse.
- Attach the needle to the injection pen. Ensure that the needle is screwed on securely.
- Dial the correct dose.
- Swab the injection site area with alcohol.
- Hold the injection pen with your thumb over the injection button.
- Press the injection pen against your body using the subcutaneous (under the skin) injection method.
- Use your thumb to push the injection button until it stops. Continue to hold the injection button in that position while slowly counting to 6 to get a full dose.
- Withdraw the injection pen from your body.
- Remove the needle from the pen. Never store the injection pen with the needle attached.
- Reset your pen as instructed by your doctor or nurse.
- Throw away the used needle. Recap your pen and store below 30°C or between 2 to 8°C.
- Use a new needle in every administration of this medicine.
Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. If you need help with understanding the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are using a syringe instead of the injection pen, throw away the used syringe. Use a new syringe for each injection.
DO NOT administer this medicine intravenously (into a vein), or intramuscularly (into a muscle) or by infusion pump.
Do not dilute or mix this medicine with any other insulin formulation or solution.
Do not share your insulin injection with anyone else.
Insulin glargine must be administered regularly for it to be effective. Continue using this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop using it unless instructed by the doctor. If you suddenly stop using this medicine, it may lead to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar level).
If you missed a dose of Insulin glargine, administer the dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal injection schedule. Check your blood sugar levels and ask your doctor on how to adjust your insulin doses if needed.
A missed dose may lead to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar level). If you often forget to inject your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know. They can give you advise that can help you remember your dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose to make up for a missed dose.
Do not use Insulin glargine if you suspect hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is happening. Please see section “What should I take note of while using this medicine?” below for more information about hypoglycaemia.
Inform your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are under stress or have a present illness (e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea), inform your doctor as these conditions may affect your blood sugar level.
Exercise will also change your insulin requirement. Consult your doctor if you change your exercise routine or start on a new exercise program.
Notify your doctor if you consume large amounts of alcohol or if you are a frequent drinker.
If you are going for dental treatment, inform your dentist that you are using Insulin glargine.
Discuss with your doctor how to adjust the dosing of this medicine according to your diet, exercise routines or if you are travelling.
For as long as you are using this medicine, you will need to have regular blood sugar and potassium tests to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
If you are using this medicine, you may have been warned about hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
How do I know if I am experiencing hypoglycaemia?
Hypoglycaemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include dizziness, tremor, shaky hands, feeling hungry, weak or confused, sweating. These signs are your body’s way of warning you that your blood sugar level is low.
It is important to recognise these symptoms and get relief for hypoglycaemia quickly, as the hypoglycaemia may worsen.
What should I do if I am experiencing hypoglycaemia?
Always carry some glucose tablets (also known as dextrose tablets) with you. Take 15 grams of glucose tablet at first sign of hypoglycaemia, wait for 15 minutes and re-check your blood sugar level. If you are not feeling better or if your blood sugar level is still low (less than 4 mmol/L or 70 mg/dL), take another 15 grams of glucose tablet.
If you don’t have glucose tablets, you may take any of the following:
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) of juice or regular soda (not diet)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
- hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops (not sugar-free)
Get medical help should symptoms did not improve after second serving.
Insulin glargine may cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which may affect your ability to concentrate and react. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
This medicine may also cause skin allergies and local injection site reactions. You may also experience thickening and sinking of the skin around the injection area. This can usually be minimised by rotating the injection site.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- medicines for diabetes e.g. pramlintide
- medicines for heart disease e.g. clonidine, disopyramide, guanethidine, reserpine, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers (e.g. diltiazem, nifedipine) and thiazide diuretic or “water pill”
- medicines for blood clot e.g. aspirin
- antibiotics e.g. isoniazid, pentamidine, sulfonamide, tetracycline
- medicines for depression e.g. amitriptyline, fluoxetine, lithium
- medicines for mood disorder e.g. chlordiazepoxide, chlorpromazine, clozapine, olanzapine
- medicines for high cholesterol e.g. fibrate derivative
- medicines for asthma e.g. salbutamol, epinephrine, terbutaline
Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of Insulin glargine. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Insulin glargine.
Always notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
It is important for you to maintain a healthy diet and weight in order to help keep your diabetes under control.
It may be helpful to discuss your diet plan with your doctor or dietitian to manage your weight and blood sugar levels.
If you have not yet opened it, store Insulin glargine in a refrigerator between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.
Once you open it, this medicine may be stored at room temperature (below 30 degree Celsius). It will expire 28 days after opening. Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
Make sure you know how to store your medicine. This medicine may become ineffective if not stored properly. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep away from heat, sunlight and from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.