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New FDA Approved Insulin Marks Another Win for Insulin Affordability

Published: 1/3/22
19 readers recommend
By Andrew BriskinApril Hopcroft

Lilly’s new basal insulin, Rezvoglar, may provide a cheaper alternative to Lantus. This marks the second approval of a biosimilar long-acting insulin.

The FDA recently announced its approval of Rezvoglar (insulin glargine-aglr), a new long-acting basal insulin, for adults and children with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes. Rezvoglar was approved as a biosimilar to Sanofi’s Lantus (insulin glargine). This means that there were no clinically meaningful differences between the glucose lowering effects that each of the insulins had when studied in clinical trials.

Rezvoglar vs. Semglee

Rezvoglar is now the second approved biosimilar insulin to Lantus, following the approval of Biocon’s Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) as biosimilar in 2021. Different from Rezvoglar, Semglee is approved as an “interchangeable biosimilar,” meaning that pharmacists can substitute a person’s Lantus prescription with the cheaper alternative without needing to consult the healthcare prescriber. With Rezvoglar, however, you must have a specific prescription for Rezvoglar. 

Rezvoglar is currently available in 3 ml, pre-filled single-use pens, which are administered once per day.

What are side effects of Rezvoglar?

As with Lantus, Rezvoglar should not be used for treating diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Like all insulins, its glucose lowering effect can cause hypoglycemia or an insufficient dosage can lead to hyperglycemia. In rare cases, other side effects include allergic reactions, hypokalemia (low potassium in your blood), heart failure, edema (the buildup of fluid in the body), lipodystrophy (pitting at the injection site), and weight gain.

How much does Rezvoglar cost?

The approval of more biosimilar insulin products means more treatment options may be available at a lower cost.

While there is not yet an official list price for Rezvoglar, biosimilar medications tend to launch at prices significantly lower than their reference products. For instance, Semglee was launched at a price roughly 65% lower than the biosimilar Lantus (according to GoodRx – you can get Semglee for as low as $50 while Lantus comes in at roughly $195). We will continue to follow Rezvoglar’s launch in the coming months and provide a pricing update when available.

When will Rezvoglar be available on the market?

Lilly has not yet announced a launch date for Rezvoglar. We expect it to become available in 2022 and will update you when more information is made available.

For those who are uninsured or underinsured and pay cash prices for their insulin, Rezvoglar is now a second option to Semglee as a potentially cheaper form of basal insulin. For more information on obtaining your diabetes medications at an affordable cost, check out our page on affording treatment. Additionally, to see if you qualify for a patient assistance program (PAP), read our article, “How to Get Diabetes Drugs for Free.”

About the authors

Andrew Briskin joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2021 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Health and Societies . Briskin is an Editor for diaTribe Learn.... Read the full bio »
April Hopcroft joined Close Concerns in 2021 after graduating summa cum laude from Smith College, where she majored in Neuroscience and Spanish. Hopcroft is a guest writer for diaTribe Learn.... Read the full bio »

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