NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Semglee® – preferred brand of insulin glargine

The patent for insulin glargine 100 units/ml (Lantus®) has expired. Biosimilar versions of insulin glargine (100 units/ml) have been available in the UK for several years.

Insulin glargine is on the total formulary restricted to:

  • patients with type 1 diabetes who are at risk of or experience unacceptable frequency and/or severity of nocturnal hypoglycaemia on attempting to achieve better hypoglycaemic control during treatment with established insulins. It is also acceptable as a once daily insulin therapy for patients who require carer administration of their insulin.
  • patients with type 2 diabetes who suffer from recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia on isophane insulin (NPH) or require assistance with their insulin injections.

Key messages

  • If initiating insulin glargine 100 units/ml, prescribe the most cost effective biosimilar.
  • Currently Semglee® is recommended due to the potential for considerable cost savings. It provides a cost effective alternative at 15% less than the acquisition cost of Abasaglar® and 20% less than Lantus®.
  • The products have similar actions, but should not be regarded as interchangeable. There is a potential for hypoglycaemia if patients are inadvertently switched between brands at the same dose.
  • As with all insulin therapy and biosimilars it is recommended to prescribe by brand and to use the brand in all communications with the GP practice. Refer to the blog on brand prescribing here.
  • If there is a supply problem with a specific brand, refer to the supply problem page on StaffNet or seek advice (to reduce risk of missed doses)

Published 04/10/19. Medicines Update blogs are correct at the time of publication.