Lantus to be discontinued

Medications come and go. The latest one going is Lantus, which will be discontinued from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as of June 30, 2020. Lantus is the registered trade name for a long-acting insulin called Insulin Glargine, produced by Sanofi.

What does this mean for users of Lantus?

  • The current stocks you have are fine to keep using until the expiry date on your medication box. The expiry date (28 days after opening) of the pen you are using stays the same. You do not need to throw out or exchange the insulin you have in stock.
  • The prescription that you have for Lantus can still be used if it is dated before 30/06/20 and is less than 12 months old. When you get your next supply, the pharmacist can substitute the brand for a replacement long-acting insulin.
  • You have two options for a replacement insulin, Optisulin or Semglee:
    • Optisulin is another brand of Insulin Glargine made by Sanofi. It is manufactured by the same processes. It has the same active and inactive components as Lantus. You will be able to replace Lantus with Optisulin at the same dose.
      • The pre-filled disposable pen device is very similar. You will notice a small change in colour and name of the pen device.
      • The Optisulin pen fill cartridges will fit into your existing reusable pen device. Always use the insulin pen device supplied by the insulin company manufacturer. Pens from other companies will be calibrated differently and may lead to over or under dosing. Optisulin can be used with AllStar, AllStar Pro, JuniorSTAR and ClikSTAR reusable pen devices. (1)
    • The other option is Semglee which the Therapeutic Goods Administration* (TGA) has agreed has “highly similar” efficacy and safety as Optisulin or Lantus. It is produced by Mylan and marketed in Australia by Alphapharm.
      • Semglee is available as a disposable prefilled pen. Your pharmacist can use your Lantus prescription to give you Semglee as long as the doctor indicated on the prescription you may do so.
      • You may use the same dose as you were using with Lantus.(2)
      • It is not available as refills for a reusable pen.
    • Optisulin and Semglee will cost you the same price. Both insulins are subsidised by the government. (3) The quality of both products has been assessed by the TGA*.
  • You may wish to discuss this change with your doctor. Maintain blood glucose level monitoring and report any changes in levels or patterns of levels.

*The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is a government body that independently assesses and monitors the safety of medicines and therapeutic devices in Australia. Medicines must be registered by the TGA before they can be sold in Australia.

If you have any questions please contact the National Diabetes Helpline on 1800 637 700 and ask to speak to a health professional.

References

  1. Sanofi. Optisulin- Consumer medicine information. Therapeutic Goods Administration- Product and consumer medicine information. [Online] [Cited: May 6th, 2020.] https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/ebs/picmi/picmirepository.nsf/pdf?OpenAgent&id=CP-2014-CMI-01570-1.
  2. Mylan. Semglee- Consumer medicines information. Therapeutic Goods Administration. [Online] [Cited: May 6th, 2020.] https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/ebs/picmi/picmirepository.nsf/pdf?OpenAgent&id=CP-2019-CMI-01953-1.
  3. NPS Medicinewise 2020. Insulin glargine 100 IU/mL injections: PBS listing changes. [Online] March 16th, 2020. https://www.nps.org.au/radar/articles/insulin-glargine-100-iu-ml-injections-pbs-listing-changes.

By Donna Itzstein

Diabetes Qld Pharmacist, CDE

 

 

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