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Humalog vs. NovoLog: Similarities and Differences

Humalog and NovoLog are two brand-name, artificial versions of naturally acting insulin, insulin lispro, and insulin aspart, respectively. These are used to manage blood sugar (glucose) levels in diabetes mellitus.

When comparing Humalog vs. NovoLog, these products are generally similar but carry some distinct differences, including the specific age requirements necessary for the effective treatment of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, dosing guidelines, storage requirements, the active ingredients present in each (insulin vs. aspart), and the tools of administration required to administer each drug.

This article will compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Humalog and NovoLog, highlighting their respective uses, dosing regimens, comparative effectiveness, potential for interaction, and more.

Humalog vs. NovoLog: Uses and Ingredients

Humalog and NovoLog are classified as rapid-acting and work more quickly than other types of insulin. They have the exact mechanism of action to reduce blood sugar levels.

Additionally, they work to transport sugar from the blood into other body tissues to be used for energy. And they also stop the liver from producing more sugar.45

For context. rapid-acting insulin is an insulin product that has an onset of action (how quickly a drug begins to work within the body) of five to 15 minutes, a peak effect (when it is most present in the bloodstream) in one to two hours and a duration of action that generally lasts four to six hours.6

As mentioned above, Humalog and NovoLog are artificial versions of human-made insulin, a type of insulin produced in 1978 and identical in structure to natural insulin.

However, it should be noted that artificial insulin doesn't work as well as natural insulin because injected human insulin coagulates together and therefore takes longer to get absorbed than insulin made inside the body.


Humalog is the brand name for insulin lispro.

Via injection, insulin lispro replaces the insulin typically produced by the body and helps move sugar from the blood into other body tissues, which are used for energy. They also stop the liver from making more sugar.4

Humalog is FDA-approved to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults 18 and older. However, it is FDA-approved to treat type 1 diabetes only in children 3 and older.


NovoLog is the brand name used for insulin aspart.

Insulin aspart replaces the insulin usually produced by the body and helps move sugar from the blood into other body tissues used for energy. And, like Humalog, it also inhibits the liver from producing excess sugar.

NovoLog is approved for use in children 2 and older with type 1 diabetes and adults 18 and older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Dosage: NovoLog vs. Humalog

Humalog vs. NovoLog is available in the following different dosage forms.

Humalog 100 units per milliliter (U-100) is available as:1

  • 10-milliliter (mL) vials
  • 3-mL vials
  • 3-mL prefilled pens
  • 3-mL Humalog KwikPen (prefilled)
  • 3-mL cartridges

The dosage of Humalog must be individualized. Blood glucose monitoring is essential in all people receiving insulin therapy.

NovoLog injection: 100 units/mL (U-100) is a clear and colorless solution available as:

  • 10-mL multiple-dose vial
  • 3-milliliter single-person-use PenFill prefilled cartridge for the 3-mL PenFill cartridge delivery device with NovoFine disposable needles
  • 3-mL single-person-use FlexPen prefilled pen
  • 3-mL single-person-use FlexTouch prefilled pen

Individualize the dosage of NovoLog based on the route of administration, metabolic needs, blood glucose levels, and glycemic control goal.

Dose adjustments may be required depending on physical activity, changes in meal patterns, changes in renal (kidney) or hepatic (liver) function, or during acute illness.

NovoLog FlexPen vs. Humalog KwikPen

The NovoLog FlexPen and Humalog KwikPen are insulin pens given by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection via single-use needles attached to each pen.

NovoLog FlexPen is available in one strength of U-100. In comparison, Humalog KwikPen is available in the form of two strengths, U-100 and U-200.

NovoLog FlexPen and Humalog KwikPen each contain 3 mL of solution.

Humalog solution and suspension are usually injected 15 minutes before or immediately after a meal.

Conversely, NovoLog solution is injected five to 10 minutes before a meal. If you are on NovoLog Mix 70/30 suspension to treat type 1 diabetes, inject 15 minutes before a meal.

Which Is More Effective?

Humalog and NovoLog are both fast-acting insulin and equally effective at managing diabetes. Both drugs start working within 15 minutes of use and are expelled from the body within a few hours. 

A study suggests no difference in absorption or elimination, time to reach maximum concentration, or half-life (time required to eliminate 50% of the drug from the body).

Another study analyzing Humalog vs. NovoLog concludes both Humalog and NovoLog are similar in managing blood glucose. They are equally effective in correcting carbohydrate and fat metabolism abnormalities in people with type 1 diabetes.

Side Effects & Safety

Humalog and NovoLog are safe and effective drugs to manage blood sugar levels. However, Humalog and NovoLog can cause various side effects like all drugs.

Be sure to watch for the emergence of side effects while taking either drug and contact your healthcare provider immediately if any side effects begin to worsen or affect your ability to complete your regular use.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects associated with the use of Humalog and NovoLog include:

Humalog and NovoLog can also cause low blood sugar, fainting, seizures, and even death. Low blood sugar may affect your ability to perform daily activities.

Know the symptoms of low blood sugar and follow your healthcare provider's instructions for treating low blood sugar. 

Other common side effects of Humalog and NovoLog include:

Severe Side Effects

More severe, rarer side effects associated with the use of Humalog and NovoLog include the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia
  • Swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • Sweating
  • Extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion

The simultaneous use of Humalog and NovoLog may result in heart failure. Make sure to call your healthcare provider before using any of these drugs. And in the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Humalog vs. NovoLog: Which One to Take?

The FDA approves different brands of insulin to treat diabetes. These brands differ in the type of insulin they contain and have different duration of actions. These include short-acting, rapid-acting, and long-acting insulins.

Every person has individual requirements regarding glucose level management in the body. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the best suitable insulin to manage your symptoms. You should not choose any brand on your own. 

It would be best to avoid switching between insulin brands on your own. Random switching may cause a sudden change in blood glucose levels which can be dangerous.

It is best to consult a healthcare provider before switching to a different insulin brand. It requires close medical supervision and close monitoring of blood glucose.

Storage Requirements

Keep Humalog and NovoLog in the container they came in and out of reach of children and pets. Store unopened insulin lispro or aspart vials, cartridges, and pens in the refrigerator, but do not freeze them.

Unopened refrigerated insulin lispro or aspart products can be stored until the date shown on the label.

If a refrigerator is unavailable, store the unopened vials, cartridges, or solution pens at room temperature (between 68 and 77 degrees F) and away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. Unrefrigerated unopened vials, cartridges, and pens can be used within 28 days but must be discarded afterward.

Unrefrigerated, unopened vials of suspension can be used within 28 days, and unrefrigerated, unopened pens can be used within 10 to 14 days; they must be correctly thrown away.

Overall, storage requirements do vary slightly for Humalog and NovoLog. However, your healthcare provider can advise you on storing and preserving your medication.


Healthcare providers prescribe Humalog and NovoLog to control the symptoms of diabetes.

But, people taking other medications for any other health condition may affect the working of these drugs. If taken together, various drugs may increase or decrease the efficacy of Humalog and NovoLog.

Humalog and NovoLog may interact with the following medicines:

Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.

And before starting any new medication regimens, talk with your healthcare provider about all the over-the-counter (OTC) multivitamins, supplements, and prescription medicines you take.


Humalog and NovoLog are rapid-acting insulins used to help manage blood sugar levels. Both medications are similar in their mode of action and come in similar forms. Moreover, both drugs have some common side effects and drug interactions.

However, there are also several differences between these brands. Specifically, Humalog and NovoLog are not interchangeable and contain different kinds of insulin—Humalog contains insulin lispro, while NovoLog contains insulin aspart.

Additionally, these products carry varying age requirements for use; sometimes, their storage requirements may differ.

Overall, strict adherence to the prescribing directions for either Humalog or NovoLog can be highly beneficial to managing type 1 or type 2 diabetes, so long as you work in tandem with your healthcare provider, monitor yourself for side effects, and supplement your medications with ample attention to diet and exercise.

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