Compare Levemir vs. Apidra

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Levemir
(insulin detemir)

Apidra
(insulin glulisine)

Lowers blood sugar. Levemir is a long-acting insulin that provides all-day sugar control. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.Controls blood sugar. Apidra (insulin glulisine) is an insulin that controls blood sugar during your meals, but you'll still have to follow your doctor's diet and exercise plan.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.39Levemir
Reviews for Levemir
45%
of people (All ages) say Levemir is worth it
35%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
130 reviews
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
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Have you used Apidra (insulin glulisine)?
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Side effects
LevemirApidra
  • Upper respiratory tract infection 26%
  • Headache 23%
  • Pharyngitis 10%
  • Influenza-like illness 8%
  • Abdominal Pain 6%
  • Gastroenteritis 17%
  • Abdominal pain 13%
  • Pyrexia 10%
  • Cough 8%
  • Viral infection 7%
More Levemir side effects »
  • Common cold 11%
  • Upper respiratory tract infection 8%
  • Low blood sugar 7%
  • Headache 7%
  • Seizure due to low blood sugar 6%
  • Flu 4%
  • Swelling in the arms and legs 8%
  • Joint pain 6%
  • High blood pressure 4%
  • Allergic reactions 4%
More Apidra side effects »
How it works
LevemirApidra
Levemir is a long-acting insulin medicine for diabetes. It acts like the insulin that your body normally makes to process sugars and fats, and it keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day.Apidra (insulin glulisine) is an insulin that controls your blood sugar by turning the sugars you eat into energy or storing it in your body for future use.
Type of medication
LevemirApidra
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
LevemirApidra
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for
LevemirApidra
Risk factors for serious side effects
LevemirApidra
  • Insulin dose too high
  • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
  • Poor injection techniques
  • Unstable kidney functions
  • Unstable liver functions
Detailed Levemir (insulin detemir) risks & warnings »
  • Changes in diet and exercise
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Taking other medications for diabetes
  • Over age 65
  • Liver or kidney problems
Detailed Apidra (insulin glulisine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Food
LevemirApidra
No food related info.
  • Apidra (insulin glulisine) has to be injected with every meal.
Kidneys and liver
LevemirApidra
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Your doctor might have to check your kidneys and liver regularly if you've had kidney or liver problems in the past.
Weight
LevemirApidra
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
LevemirApidra
  • Insulin is the most effective blood sugar-lowering medicine. When used correctly, it'll lower blood sugar every time you use it and prevent the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Levemir is a long-lasting insulin that provides consistent, all-day sugar control with less risk of low blood sugar.
  • Dose can be easily adjusted to make a customized regimen that's tailored to your body.
  • Starting insulin early in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can maintain your body's insulin-producing cells and slow down disease progression.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Apidra (insulin glulisine) starts working in as soon as 15 minutes.
  • Programs are available to lower your copay. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Can be used in children 4 years of age and older.
  • Can be used in people over 65.
Downsides and risks
LevemirApidra
  • You have to take insulin by injection.
  • You have to check your blood sugar every day.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Higher risk of low blood sugar episodes than other kinds of diabetes medicines.
  • Your doctor might have to check your kidneys and liver regularly if you've had kidney or liver problems in the past.
  • Apidra (insulin glulisine) has to be injected with every meal.
  • Only available as a brand name, so Apidra (insulin glulisine) can be expensive.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
LevemirApidra
  • Long-acting insulin good for baseline blood sugar control.
  • Works in 1 hour and lasts about 24 hours.
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, nervousness, headache, blurry vision, trouble thinking clearly, or passing out.
  • Always have a good source of sugar nearby for low blood sugar episodes.
  • Take it at the same time every day.
  • Make sure you understand how to give yourself the injections.
  • Don't shake the vial or mix with another insulin. Store unopened vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials are good at room temperature for 28 days.
  • Check your blood sugar levels every day.
  • Starts working within 10 to 30 minutes, and lasts for up to 5 hours.
  • Take Apidra (insulin glulisine) 15 minutes before a meal or within 20 minutes after starting a meal.
  • Don't mix Apidra (insulin glulisine) for under the skin injection with any other insulin except Novolin N or Humulin N. Don't mix Apidra (insulin glulisine) with any other insulin if you're using an insulin pump.
  • Don't use Apidra (insulin glulisine) if it looks cloudy or changes color, it's leaking or if there are particles in it.
  • Change the area where you inject Apidra (insulin glulisine) every time.
  • Keep all unopened vials or pens of Apidra (insulin glulisine) in the fridge until you're ready to use it. You can keep opened vials and pens at room temperature, but throw it away after 28 days.
Learn more
More about LevemirSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Levemir (insulin detemir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ApidraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Apidra (insulin glulisine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it