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Humalog vs Novolog (Novalog): What's the difference?

Humalog and Novolog (Novalog) are both insulins used in the treatment of diabetes. But what are the differences and similarities between them?

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com Last updated on Apr 9, 2019.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Humalog and Novolog are both rapid acting forms of insulin that work for short periods of time; however, Humalog is approved in adults and children over the age of 3, but Novolog is approved for use in children as young as 2. 

Both are analogs of human insulin and effects in people with diabetes appear identical.Costs and administration recommendations are similar. They should not be used together but are usually included in a regimen with intermediate and/or long-acting insulins.

Humalog Vs Novolog: Both human insulin analogs

Humalog is a brand name for insulin lispro. Humalog starts to work about 15 minutes after injection, peaks in about 1 hour, and keeps working for 2 to 4 hours.

Novolog is a brand name for insulin aspart. NovoLog starts to work about 15 minutes after injection, peaks in about 1 hour, and keeps working for 2 to 4 hours. Novolog is commonly misspelled as Novolog.

Both medicines may be prescribed along with long-acting or intermediate-acting insulins.

Humalog Vs Novolog: What exactly is the difference?

Insulin consists of two polypeptide chains (A and B) linked together by disulfide bonds.

Insulin lispro is human insulin that has been modified so that the amino acid proline has been substituted for lysine in position 28 of the B-chain, and lysine has been substituted for proline at position 29 of the B-chain.

Insulin Aspart is human insulin that has a single substitution of proline for aspartic acid in position 28 of the B-chain.

These seemingly minor substitutions significantly increase the rate of absorption of these insulin analogs into blood after subcutaneous injection. Peak concentrations are reached quicker than with regular human insulin, postprandial glucose control (level of blood sugars after a meal) is also improved, and there is less risk of late hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Humalog Vs Novolog: Are there any differences in effect in people with diabetes?

One small study concluded that there were no differences between Insulin lispro (Humalog) and Insulin Aspart (Novolog) in people with type 1 diabetes. Insulin levels in blood were similar 30 minutes after subcutaneous injection of either Lispro or Aspart and both disappeared from the blood after approximately 4 hours. Similar effects were also reported for glucose, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. The study concluded that the clinical effects of Insulin Lispro and Insulin Aspart were indistinguishable from each other.

Dosing instructions supplied by the manufacturer do differ slightly. The manufacturers of Humalog suggest administration within 15 minutes of a meal or immediately after a meal, while the manufacturers of Novolog suggest administration 5 to 10 minutes before a meal or soon after the start of the meal.

Side effects and interactions are the same.

Humalog Vs Novolog: Who can use?

Humalog is used to treat type 1 diabetes in adults and children who are at least 3 years old, and can also be used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.

Novolog is used to treat type 1 diabetes in adults and children who are at least 2 years old, and can also be used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults.

Humalog Vs Novolog: Cost

Humalog costs approximately $87 for a 3ml vial containing 100 units/ml of Insulin lispro ($29 per ml). Novolog costs approximately $277 for a 10ml vial containing 100 units/ml of Insulin Aspart ($27.70 per ml). Both Humalog and Novolog are available as cartridges and vials. Neither Humalog nor Novolog has a generic version. Both require refrigeration.

See also: Drugs.com Compare Tool - Humalog vs Novolog

References
  1. Homko C, Deluzio A, Jimenez C, et al. Comparison of Insulin Aspart and Lispro. Diabetes Care Jul 2003, 26 (7) 2027-2031; DOI: 10.2337/diacare.26.7.2027 http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/7/2027
  2. Novolog (Insulin aspart) Drugs.com https://www.drugs.com/novolog.html
  3. Humalog (Insulin Lispro) Revised 07/2016 Drugs.com Eli Lilly and Company https://www.drugs.com/pro/humalog.html
  4. Types of Insulin for People with Diabetes Joslin Diabetes Center http://www.joslin.org/info/insulin_a_to_z_a_guide_on_different_types_of_insulin.html

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