What Basaglar is used for and how to use it
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Basaglar - Consumer Medicine Information

Manufacture: Eli Lilly USA and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Country: Canada
Condition: Diabetes, Type 1, Diabetes, Type 2
Class: Insulin
Form: Liquid solution, Subcutaneous (SC)
Ingredients: insulin glargine, glycerin, m-cresol, zinc oxide, and water for injection. Hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide are added for pH adjustment

insulin glargine (rDNA origin)
Solution for Injection, 100 units/mL

insulin glargine (rDNA origin)
Solution for Injection, 100 units/mL

About this medication

What the medication is used for

BASAGLAR [insulin glargine (rDNA origin)] injection is a recombinant human insulin analogue that is a long-acting blood-glucose-lowering agent administered subcutaneously (under the skin) once a day. BASAGLAR is indicated in the treatment of patients over 17 years of age with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus who require basal (long-acting) insulin for the control of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). BASAGLAR is also indicated in the treatment of pediatric patients (>6 years old) with type 1 diabetes mellitus who require basal (long-acting) insulin for the control of hyperglycemia.

What it does

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland that lies near the stomach. This hormone is necessary for your body to use food, especially sugar, correctly. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to meet your body's needs or when your body cannot properly use the insulin you normally produce.

When your body does not make enough insulin, you need an external source of insulin. That is why you must take insulin injections. BASAGLAR is similar to the insulin made by your body.

Insulin injections, such as BASAGLAR, play a key role in keeping your diabetes under control. In addition to proper insulin therapy, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle – this includes eating a balanced diet, participating in regular exercise or other physical activities, carefully monitoring your glucose levels and following your healthcare professional’s recommendations. These simple actions will compliment your insulin therapy and will ultimately help you gain greater control of your diabetes.

You have been instructed to test your blood and/or your urine regularly for glucose; it is especially important to test even more often when changing insulins or changing your dosing schedule. If your blood tests consistently show above- or below-normal glucose levels, or your urine tests consistently show the presence of glucose, your diabetes is not properly controlled and you must let your healthcare professional know.

Always keep an extra supply of BASAGLAR on hand. Always wear medical alert identification and carry information about your diabetes so that appropriate treatment can be given if complications occur away from home.

When it should not be used

BASAGLAR should not be used:

  • if you are allergic to this drug or to any ingredient in the formulation or component of the container
  • if you have diabetic ketoacidosis
  • for intravenous or intramuscular injections

What the medicinal ingredient is

The active ingredient in BASAGLAR is insulin glargine (rDNA origin).

What the non-medicinal ingredients are

The nonmedicinal ingredients in the 3 mL cartridges and KwikPen are glycerin, m-cresol, zinc oxide, and water for injection. Hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide are added for pH adjustment.

What dosage forms it comes in

BASAGLAR is a solution for injection (100 units/mL) available in:

  • 3 mL cartridges in packages of 5 (for use only with Lilly’s re-usable insulin pens)
  • KwikPen, 3 mL prefilled pen, in packages of 5

Warnings and precautions

Serious Warnings and Precautions
— Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is the most common adverse effect of insulin, including BASAGLAR.
— Glucose monitoring is recommended for all patients with diabetes.
— Uncorrected hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic reactions can cause loss of consciousness, coma, or death.
— Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.
— BASAGLAR should not be used for intravenous or intramuscular administration.
BASAGLAR must not be mixed with any other insulin or diluted with any other solution because it might not work as intended.
— BASAGLAR shall not be used if it is not water-clear and colourless or if it has formed a deposit of solid particles on the wall of the cartridge.

Concomitant oral antidiabetic treatment may need to be adjusted.

The use of thiazolidinediones (such as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone), alone or in combination with other antidiabetic agents (including insulin), has been associated with heart failure and swelling of the lower extremities. Contact your healthcare professional immediately if you develop symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, exercise intolerance, or swelling of the lower extremities while you are taking these medications.

Accidental mix-ups between insulin glargine and other insulins, particularly short-acting insulins, have been reported. To avoid medication errors between insulin glargine and other insulins, always check your insulin label before each injection.

Hypokalemia (low potassium) is a possible side effect with all insulins. You might be more at risk if you are using potassium lowering drugs or losing potassium through other means (e.g. diarrhea). Symptoms of hypokalemia may include: fatigue, muscle weakness or spasms, constipation, tingling or numbness, feeling of skipped heart beats or palpitations.

If you have diabetic retinopathy (condition affecting the retina of the eye) and you have a marked change in blood glucose levels, the retinopathy may temporarily get worse. Ask your doctor about this.

BEFORE you use BASAGLAR talk to your healthcare professional if:

  • you are planning to have a baby, are pregnant, or are nursing a baby
  • you are taking any medication

Interactions with this medication

Other medicines, including non-prescription medicines, and dietary supplements (such as vitamins) can change the way insulin works. Your dose of insulin or other medications may need to be changed in consultation with your healthcare professional. Please see “Proper use of this medication” section below for potential medication interactions with insulin.

Instructions for use

Your doctor has recommended the type of insulin that he/she believes is best for you. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER INSULIN EXCEPT ON THE ADVICE AND DIRECTION OF YOUR DOCTOR.

BASAGLAR is a clear solution and looks like some short-acting insulins. Always check for the name of the insulin on the carton and the cartridge label when you pick it up from the pharmacy to make sure it is the same as the one your doctor has recommended.

It is important to use the BASAGLAR cartridge only with Lilly re-usable insulin pens. Using the cartridge in any other injection pen not suitable for the BASAGLAR cartridge could lead to a mistake in dosing and cause medical problems for you, such as a blood glucose level that is too low or too high.

Although rare, technical problems with the cartridge can occur which may prevent correct dosing. They include: broken, cracked or damaged cartridges, air bubbles or foam, and blocked needles. If technical problems occur or are suspected, contact your healthcare professional or the Lilly Customer Response Centre (1-888-545-5972).


DO NOT SHARE INJECTION PENS, CARTRIDGES, OR NEEDLES WITH ANYONE ELSE. To prevent the possible transmission of disease, never share a BASAGLAR cartridge or pen between patients, even if the needle on the delivery device is changed.

Preparing the BASAGLAR Cartridge for insertion into a re-usable insulin pen

  1. To avoid medication errors, check the insulin cartridge label before each insertion.
  2. Inspect the insulin cartridge. BASAGLAR should be a clear and colorless solution with no visible particles. Do not use it if you notice anything unusual in the appearance of the solution.
  3. Make sure the insulin is at room temperature to minimize local irritation at the injection site.
  4. Wash your hands.
  5. Carefully follow the injection pen directions for loading the cartridge into the injection pen.

Preparing the KwikPen

Please refer to the Instructions for Use provided with your BASAGLAR KwikPen.

Injecting Each Dose

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Inspect the insulin. BASAGLAR should be a clear and colorless solution with no visible particles. Do not use it if you notice anything unusual in the appearance of solution.
  3. Do not shake or rotate the cartridge or KwikPen before use.
  4. Remove the protective cap.
  5. Follow the injection pen directions for attaching and changing the needle.
  6. Check the cartridge inserted into the injection pen for air bubbles. If bubbles are present, remove them as instructed in the injection pen directions.
  7. Follow the injection pen directions for performing the Safety Test or Priming.
  8. Set the injection pen to the correct BASAGLAR dose as instructed in the injection pen directions.
  9. There is no relevant difference in absorption of BASAGLAR between abdominal, thigh, or upper arm subcutaneous injection areas. However, injection sites within an injection area (abdomen, thigh, buttock, or upper arm) must be rotated from one injection to the next.
  10. Prepare the injection site as directed by your healthcare professional
  11. Insert the needle attached to the injection pen as instructed by your doctor or diabetes educator.
  12. To inject BASAGLAR, follow the directions for the injection pen.
  13. Slowly count to 5 before removing the needle from the injection site and gently apply pressure for several seconds. DO NOT RUB THE AREA.
  14. Remove the needle from the injection pen immediately after each injection as instructed in the directions for the injection pen. Dispose of the needle in a sharps container or a hard plastic container with a secure lid or as directed by your healthcare professional. Do not reuse the needle.

Hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can result from injecting insulin in the wrong site or incorrectly. Hypoglycemia can result from injection directly into a blood vessel and if not recognized or treated may be followed by hyperglycemia since there was no BASAGLAR deposition for long-term absorption.

Proper use of this medication


The dosage of BASAGLAR should be individualized and determined based on your healthcare professional’s advice in accordance with your needs. You may take BASAGLAR at any time during the day, but you must take it at the same time every day.

Many factors may affect your usual BASAGLAR dose, which may include changes in your diet, activity, or work schedule. Follow your healthcare professional’s instructions carefully. Consult your healthcare professional if you notice your insulin requirements changing markedly. Other factors that may affect your dose of insulin or your need to do additional blood/urine testing are described below.


Illness, especially with nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and/or fever, may cause your insulin requirements to change. Even if you are not eating, you will still require insulin. You and your doctor should establish a sick day plan for you to use in case of illness. When you are sick, test your blood/urine frequently and call your doctor as instructed.


If you are planning to have a baby, are pregnant, or are nursing a baby, consult your doctor. Good control of diabetes is especially important for you and your unborn baby. Pregnancy may make managing your diabetes more difficult.


Always discuss any medications you are taking, prescription or “over-the-counter (OTC)”, with your healthcare professional. To prevent drug interactions, provide the names of everything you are taking even before they ask if there have been any changes. Insulin requirements may be increased in the presence of drugs with hyperglycemic activity, such as contraceptives (for example, birth control pills, injections and patches), and hormone replacement therapies, corticosteroids, thyroid replacement therapy, and medications such as decongestants and diet pills. Insulin requirements may be reduced in the presence of drugs with hypoglycemic activity, such as oral antidiabetic agents, salicylates (for example, aspirin), sulfa antibiotics, blood pressure medications including angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and certain psychiatric medications including monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Substances such as beta-blockers (used for conditions including high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, heart palpitations and headache) and alcohol may enhance or weaken the blood-glucose-lowering effect of insulins, and signs of hypoglycemia may be reduced or absent.


If your exercise routine changes, discuss with your healthcare professional the possible need to adjust your insulin regimen. Exercise may lower your body's need for insulin during, and for some time after, the activity. As for all insulins, the rate of absorption, and consequently the onset and duration of action, may be affected by exercise and other variables.


Consult your healthcare professional concerning possible adjustments in your insulin schedule if you will be traveling across time zones. You may want to take along extra insulin and supplies whenever you travel.

Missed dose

If you have missed a dose of BASAGLAR or if you have not injected enough insulin, your blood sugar level may become too high (hyperglycemia). Check your blood sugar frequently. For information on the treatment of hyperglycemia, see “Side Effects and What To Do About Them” below.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.


If you have injected too much BASAGLAR, your blood sugar level may become too low (hypoglycemia). Check your blood sugar frequently. In general, to prevent hypoglycemia you must eat more food and monitor your blood sugar. For information on the treatment of hypoglycemia, see “Side Effects and What To Do About Them” below.

Hypoglycemia may occur as a result of an excess of insulin relative to food intake, energy expenditure or both.

In case of drug overdose, contact a healthcare professional, hospital emergency department or regional Poison Control Centre immediately, even if there are no symptoms.

Side effects and what to do about them


Hypoglycemia (Insulin Reaction)

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is one of the most frequent adverse events experienced by insulin users. It can be brought on by situations such as:

  • intercurrent conditions (illness, stress, or emotional disturbances)
  • accidental injection of too much insulin
  • malfunction and/or misuse of injection devices,
  • not eating enough, or skipped meals,
  • an increase in exercise
  • a new insulin type or schedule 
  • some new medications, including prescriptions, over-the counter medication, herbs, vitamins and street drugs

Symptoms of mild to moderate hypoglycemia may occur suddenly and can include:

  • abnormal behavior (anxiety, irritability, restlessness, trouble concentrating, personality changes, mood changes, confusion or nervousness) 
  • fatigue
  • tingling in your hands, feet, lips, or tongue
  • tremor (shaking)
  • unsteady gait (walking)
  • dizziness, light-headedness, or drowsiness
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • slurred speech
  • palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
  • cold sweat
  • pale skin
  • nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • nausea
  • hunger 

Mild to moderate hypoglycemia may be treated by consuming foods or drinks that contain sugar. Patients should always carry an adequate amount (about 15 grams of glucose) of a quick source of sugar, such as candy, juice or glucose tablets, prominently labelled for rescuers. Contact your healthcare professional about appropriate proportions of carbohydrates.

Signs of severe hypoglycemia can include:

  • disorientation 
  • convulsions
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures 

Severe hypoglycemia may require the assistance of another person. Patients who are unable to take sugar orally or who are unconscious may require an injection of glucagon or should be treated with intravenous administration of glucose by medical personnel. Without immediate medical help, serious reactions or even death could occur.

The early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia may be changed, be less pronounced, or be absent, as for example, in patients whose sugar levels are markedly improved, in elderly patients, in patients with diabetic nerve disease, in patients with a long history of diabetes, or in patients receiving treatment with certain other drugs. Such situations may result in severe hypoglycemia (and possibly, loss of consciousness) before a patient has symptoms.

Some people may not recognize when their blood sugar drops too low. Often the first sign of this is confusion or loss of consciousness. Educational and behavioural programs, including blood glucose awareness training, may help improve our ability to detect hypoglycemia and reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycemia.

Without recognition of early warning symptoms, you may not be able to take steps to avoid more serious hypoglycemia. Be alert for all of the various types of symptoms that may indicate hypoglycemia. Patients who experience hypoglycemia without early warning symptoms should monitor their blood glucose frequently, especially prior to activities such as driving a car or using mechanical equipment. If the blood glucose is below your normal fasting glucose, you should consider eating or drinking sugar-containing foods to treat your hypoglycemia.

Other people may develop hypoglycemia during the night – this is called nocturnal hypoglycemia. It is fairly common and lasts over 4 hours. Because the person is usually asleep when it occurs, nocturnal hypoglycemia can go undetected, resulting in increased risk of severe hypoglycemia compared to the daytime. To help reduce your risk of asymptomatic nocturnal hypoglycemia, your doctor may ask you to periodically monitor your overnight blood glucose levels.

If you have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, experience difficulty in recognizing the symptoms, or if your diabetes is getting worse, you should consult your healthcare professional to discuss possible changes in therapy, meal plans, and/or exercise programs to help you avoid hypoglycemia.


Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may develop if your body has too little insulin.

Hyperglycemia can be brought about by:

  • intercurrent conditions (illness, stress, or emotional disturbances)
  • not taking your insulin or taking less than recommended by your healthcare professional
  • malfunction and/or misuse of injection devices
  • eating significantly more than your meal plan suggests
  • a new insulin type or schedule
  • some new medications, including prescriptions, over-the counter medication, herbs, vitamins and street drugs

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • confusion or drowsiness
  • increased thirst
  • decreased appetite, nausea, or vomiting
  • palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
  • increased urination and dehydration (too little fluid in your body)
  • blurred vision 
  • flushed dry skin
  • acetone odour of breath

Hyperglycemia can be mild or severe. It can progress to high glucose levels, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and result in unconsciousness and death.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

The first symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) usually come on over a period of hours or days. With DKA, urine tests show large amounts of glucose and acetone.

Symptoms of DKA include:

First symptoms:

  • drowsiness
  • flushed face
  • thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • fruity smelling breath
  • rapid, deep breathing
  • abdominal (stomach area) pain

Severe symptoms:

  • heavy breathing 
  • palpitations (rapid heartbeat)

Prolonged hyperglycemia or DKA can lead to:

  • nausea 
  • vomiting
  • dehydration
  • loss of consciousness
  • death

Severe or continuing hyperglycemia or DKA requires prompt evaluation and treatment by your healthcare professional. BASAGLAR should not be used to treat DKA, and the persons treating you should be advised you are taking a long-acting insulin and about your regimen.

Allergic reactions

In rare cases, a patient may be allergic to an insulin product. Severe insulin allergies may be life-threatening. If you think you are having an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.

Signs of insulin allergy include:

  • a rash all over your body 
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing (trouble breathing)
  • palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
  • sweating
  • low blood pressure

Possible reactions on the skin at the injection site

Injecting insulin can cause the following reactions on the skin at the injection site:

  • a little depression in the skin (lipoatrophy)
  • skin thickening (lipohypertrophy)
  • redness, swelling, or itching at injection site

In some instances, these reactions may be related to factors other than insulin, such as irritants in the skin cleansing agent or poor injection technique. You can reduce the chance of having an injection site reaction if you change the injection site each time. If you have local injection site reactions, contact your healthcare professional.

This is not a complete list of side effects. For any unexpected effects while taking BASAGLAR, contact your healthcare professional.

Reporting suspected side effects

You can report any suspected adverse reactions associated with the use of health products to the Canada Vigilance Program by one of the following 3 ways:

  • Report online at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/medeffect
  • Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  • Complete a Canada Vigilance Reporting Form and:
    • Fax toll-free to 1-866-678-6789, or
    • Mail to: Canada Vigilance Program
                     Health Canada
                     Postal Locator 0701E
                     Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9

    Postage paid labels, Canada Vigilance Reporting Forms and the adverse reaction reporting guidelines are available on the MedEffect™ Canada Web site at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/medeffect.

NOTE: Should you require information related to the management of side effects, contact your health professional. The Canada Vigilance Program does not provide medical advice.

How to store it

Unopened Cartridge or KwikPen

Unopened BASAGLAR cartridges or KwikPens should be stored in a refrigerator, between 2°C - 8°C. Keep BASAGLAR away from direct heat and light. BASAGLAR should not be stored in the freezer and should not be allowed to freeze. If BASAGLAR freezes, discard it.

Opened (In Use) Cartridge or KwikPen

The opened BASAGLAR cartridge or KwikPen in use should be stored at room temperature (below 30°C) for up to 28 days away from direct heat and light. If there is any remaining insulin after 28 days, discard it. The opened cartridge in use must never be removed from and reinserted into the injection pen. If BASAGLAR freezes discard it.

Do not use a BASAGLAR cartridge or KwikPen after the expiration date stamped on the label or if it is cloudy or contains visible particles.


Dispose of used needles in a sharps container or a hard plastic container with a secure lid. Do not throw needles directly into your household trash. Do not recycle the filled sharps container. Ask your healthcare professional about options available to dispose of the sharps container properly.

You can also check the Canadian Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.ca for information on sharps disposal.

The directions regarding needle handling are not intended to replace local, healthcare professional or institutional policies.

Dispose of the used KwikPen as instructed by your healthcare professional after you have removed the needle.

More information

For more information, please contact your healthcare professional or pharmacist first, or Eli Lilly Canada Inc at:
1-888-545-5972 or visit the website at www.lilly.ca

The information in this document is current as of the last revision date shown below. For the most current information please visit our website or contact us directly.