What is the Difference Between Humalog and NovoLog? A Guide

Posted October 9, 2020 by Clint Kelly - See Editorial Guidelines

There are many different types of insulin on the market that are used to treat diabetes. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, then you may need rapid-acting insulin. So, how do you choose between Humalog and NovoLog?

In this article, we will discuss the differences and similarities between Humalog and NovoLog. First, here is a quick answer to get us started, then we will cover this in more detail.

Humalog vs. NovoLog: Humalog and NovoLog are both rapid-acting insulins that are injected subcutaneously. They are both used to treat diabetes, have similar side effects, and are used as mealtime insulins. However, there are some discrepancies between these two types of insulin.

With this brief explanation in mind, let’s cover all of the details.

Similarities of Humalog and NovoLog

Humalog and NovoLog

Humalog and NovoLog are both rapid-acting insulins that can treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Patients will typically use this type of insulin to prevent blood sugar spikes from meals and to make corrections for high blood sugar levels.

Both medications are available in the form of different insulin pens, as well as vials. Patients can also use each of these insulins for their insulin pump.

Both Humalog and NovoLog are injected subcutaneously. When it comes to injecting insulin, patients should avoid injecting into sensitive, bruised, or damaged skin. Injection sites should also be rotated regularly. The pens of each insulin are also used similarly.

Humalog and NovoLog must also be stored in similar ways. Unused and unopened insulin should be kept in the fridge until it is ready to be used, or it has reached its expiration date. Opened and in use insulin pens or vials can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days. Avoid allowing your insulin to be in contact with direct light or heat, and do not use insulin if it has frozen.

Main Differences of Humalog and NovoLog

Though Humalog and NovoLog seem like they have everything in common, there are some differences, which are mentioned below.


Humalog is manufactured by Eli Lilly, whereas Novo Nordisk manufactures NovoLog. These are two of the three main manufacturers of insulin.

Safety and Efficacy of Age

Humalog and NovoLog are both prescribed to children and adults that have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, the safety and efficacy when it comes to age recommendations differ between these two medications. Humalog can be used in children 3 years of age or older. On the other hand, NovoLog can be used in children as young as 2 years of age.

Time of Onset

The time it takes for each insulin to start working is another difference between Humalog and NovoLog. It is believed that NovoLog starts working slightly faster than Humalog. Humalog will start working within 15 minutes, so the recommendation is to inject it about 15 minutes prior to a meal. NovoLog can be taken just 5-10 minutes before a meal because of the quicker onset. The peak and duration times are the same, which are 1 hour and 3-4 hours, respectively.  


The price you pay for your insulin or other medication will vary depending on your insurance and the pharmacy you go to. However, the out-of-pocket cost for Humalog is roughly $330 per vial or $133 per pen. The out-of-pocket cost for NovoLog is roughly $350 per vial or $135 per pen. So, the overall prices are close, but NovoLog is slightly more expensive. On top of this, Eli Lilly also manufactures a generic version of Humalog called insulin lispro, which is cheaper than the brand name.

If you get your insulin through Prescription Hope, then you can expect to pay just $50 a month, regardless of the brand.

Side Effects of Humalog and NovoLog

The side effects of Humalog and NovoLog are very similar. The following is a list of potential side effects.

  • Low blood sugar
  • Injection site reactions
  • Lipodystrophy (Accumulation of fat tissue)
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Low potassium in your blood

Some side effects may be severe and life-threatening. Discuss your risks of side effects with your doctor.

Other Safety Information

Humalog and NovoLog

The warnings and safety information for both Humalog and NovoLog are also very similar in nature. Here is an overview of the important safety information you should know regarding these medications.

Patients should never share their insulin pen or needles with others. This can put you and others at a high risk of having an infection or transmitting illness.

Patients should also never change the type of insulin they are using without consulting their doctor. Even though Humalog and NovoLog are very similar, each person may respond differently to each type of insulin. Switching insulins or changing your dose without proper instruction from your doctor can cause severe hypoglycemia or other serious side effects, which can be life-threatening.

Never withdrawal insulin from your Humalog pen or NovoLog pen with a syringe. Always check your blood sugar level before administering your dose of insulin.

Always rotate your injection sites. Injecting in the same site can result in skin irritations. Do not inject insulin into skin that is damaged, bruised, scarred, or into skin that has lumps or has thickened.

Never administer insulin if you have low blood sugar, as this can lead to more severe, life-threatening hypoglycemia. Do not use Humalog or NovoLog if you are allergic to insulin or any of the ingredients.

Talk to your doctor about the history of your medical conditions, especially if you have had kidney, liver, or heart problems. Tell your doctor about other medications you are taking, especially if you are taking TZDs (thiazolidinediones).

Is Humalog or NovoLog More Effective?

Humalog and NovoLog have been shown to be equally effective when it comes to lowering blood glucose levels. As mentioned before, NovoLog is starts working slightly faster than Humalog, but they are still both rapid-acting insulins.

If you are deciding between these two types of insulin, the decision should be made between you and your doctor. You may also need to check with your insurance company to see which one is most covered.


We hope this has helped you better understand the differences between Humalog and NovoLog. Always consult your doctor if you have questions about your specific condition or medication you are on.

If you are struggling to afford your insulin or other prescribed drug, then Prescription Hope can help. We work directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide patients with the medicine they need at a set, affordable cost. Enroll with us and start paying just $50 a month for each of your medications.