NovoLog (insulin aspart) and Humalog (insulin lispro) are brand-name prescription medications. They’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in certain people.

There are two different types of NovoLog and Humalog:

  • NovoLog and NovoLog Mix
  • Humalog and Humalog Mix

This article explains the main similarities and differences between NovoLog and Humalog. If you’re considering treatment with one of these drugs, talk with your doctor. Reviewing this information with them can help you decide whether one of these treatments may be better than the other.

Note: For more comprehensive information about these drugs, you can refer to our NovoLog and Humalog articles.

Key differences between NovoLog and Humalog

These are a few of the main differences between NovoLog and Humalog:

  • Dosage: NovoLog injections are typically given closer to mealtimes than Humalog injections. (See “Dosages, forms, and administration” below.)
  • Use in children: NovoLog is used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in certain children as injections and in insulin pumps. Humalog is approved for use in certain children with type 1 diabetes and an insulin pump. (See “Uses of NovoLog vs. Humalog” below.)

Below are answers to some common questions about NovoLog and Humalog.

Are NovoLog and Humalog the same?

No, NovoLog and Humalog are not the same.

Both NovoLog and Humalog are rapid-acting insulins. They’re used to help manage blood sugar spikes that happen after eating. Both medications come in similar forms. However, NovoLog and Humalog contain different active ingredients.

To learn about the forms of NovoLog and Humalog, see “Dosages, forms, and administration” below. To learn about their active ingredients, see “Ingredients of NovoLog and Humalog” below.

Your doctor and pharmacist can also tell you about the differences between the drugs.

How do NovoLog FlexPen and Humalog KwikPen compare?

NovoLog FlexPen and Humalog KwikPen are insulin pens. They’re given by subcutaneous injection with single-use needles that attach to the injection pen.

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

NovoLog FlexPen is available in one strength of 100 units per mL (U-100). Humalog KwikPen is available in two strengths: U-100 and 200 units per mL (U-200).

For additional information about how NovoLog FlexPen and Humalog KwikPen compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Here’s a quick look at the dosage and administration for NovoLog and Humalog for the conditions both drugs treat.

Dosage for type 1 diabetes

NovoLog for type 1 diabetesHumalog for type 1 diabetes
FormsNovoLog:
• solution in 10-milliliter (mL) multiple-use vial, used in an insulin pump or given by subcutaneous injection or IV infusion
• solution in 3-mL single-use cartridge called NovoLog PenFill, given by subcutaneous injection
• solution in 3-mL injection pen called a FlexPen, given by subcutaneous injection

NovoLog Mix:*
• liquid suspension in 10-mL multiple-use vial, given by subcutaneous injection
• liquid suspension in 3-mL injection pen called a FlexPen, given by subcutaneous injection
Humalog:
• solution in 3-mL or 10-mL multiple-use vial, used in an insulin pump or given by subcutaneous injection or IV infusion
• solution in 3-mL single-use cartridge, given by subcutaneous injection
• solution in 3-mL injection pens called a Tempo Pen, KwikPen, and Junior KwikPen, given by subcutaneous injection

Humalog Mix:†
• liquid suspension in 10-mL multiple-use vial, given by subcutaneous injection
• liquid suspension in 3-mL injection pen called a KwikPen, given by subcutaneous injection
Strengths• Novolog: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100)
• NovoLog Mix:* U-100
• Humalog vials, cartridges, and injection pens: U-100
• Humalog KwikPen: 200 units of insulin per mL (U-200)
• Humalog Mix:† U-100
Dose50% of your total daily insulin dosage divided over each meal, or based on a sliding scale if your doctor recommends it50% of your total daily insulin dosage divided over each meal, or based on a sliding scale if your doctor recommends it
Frequency• NovoLog: up to 10 minutes before a meal, for as many meals as your doctor advises each day
• NovoLog Mix:* within 15 minutes before or after two meals each day
• Humalog: within 15 minutes before or after a meal, for as many meals as your doctor advises each day
• Humalog Mix:† within 15 minutes before or after two meals each day
Given byself or healthcare professional (see below)self or healthcare professional (see below)

* NovoLog Mix comes as a 70/30 mixture called NovoLog Mix 70/30. It contains 70% insulin aspart protamine and 30% insulin aspart.
† Humalog Mix comes as a 50/50 mixture called Humalog Mix50/50. It contains 50% insulin lispro protamine and 50% insulin lispro. Humalog Mix also comes as a 75/25 mixture called Humalog Mix75/25. It contains 75% insulin lispro protamine and 25% insulin lispro.

Your doctor will advise you on the dosage of NovoLog or Humalog that’s right for you.

A healthcare professional will show you or a caregiver how to give NovoLog or Humalog injections at home.

If you need NovoLog or Humalog while in the hospital, you may receive the drug as an IV infusion. In this case, a healthcare professional will give you your infusions. You won’t give yourself IV infusions of NovoLog or Humalog.

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

NovoLog for type 2 diabetesHumalog for type 2 diabetes
FormsNovoLog:
• solution in 10-milliliter (mL) multiple-use vial, used in an insulin pump or given by subcutaneous injection or IV infusion
• solution in 3-mL single-use cartridge called NovoLog PenFill, given by subcutaneous injection
• solution in 3-mL injection pen called a FlexPen, given by subcutaneous injection

NovoLog Mix:*
• liquid suspension in 10-mL multiple-use vial, given by subcutaneous injection
• liquid suspension in 3-mL injection pen called a FlexPen, given by subcutaneous injection
Humalog:
• solution in 3-mL or 10-mL multiple-use vial, used in an insulin pump or given by subcutaneous injection or IV infusion
• solution in 3-mL single-use cartridge, given by subcutaneous injection
• solution in 3-mL injection pens called Tempo Pen, KwikPen, and Junior KwikPen, given by subcutaneous injection

Humalog Mix:†
• liquid suspension in 10-mL multiple-use vial, given by subcutaneous injection
• liquid suspension in 3-mL injection pen called a KwikPen, given by subcutaneous injection
Strengths• Novolog: 100 units of insulin per mL (U-100)
• NovoLog Mix:* U-100
• Humalog vials, cartridges, and injection pens: U-100
• Humalog KwikPen: 200 units of insulin per mL (U-200)
• Humalog Mix:† U-100
Dosethree options:
• 10% of your total daily insulin dosage divided over each meal
• 4 units daily
• using a sliding scale if your doctor recommends it
three options:
• 10% of your total daily insulin dosage divided over each meal
• 4 units daily
• using a sliding scale if your doctor recommends it
Frequency• NovoLog: up to 10 minutes before the largest meal of the day
• NovoLog Mix:* within 15 minutes before or after the largest meal each day, or after two meals each day if your doctor recommends it
• Humalog: within 15 minutes before or after the largest meal each day
• Humalog Mix:† within 15 minutes before or after the largest meal each day, or after two meals each day if your doctor recommends it
Given byself or healthcare professional (see below)self or healthcare professional (see below)

* NovoLog Mix comes as a 70/30 mixture called NovoLog Mix 70/30. It contains 70% insulin aspart protamine and 30% insulin aspart.
† Humalog Mix comes as a 50/50 mixture called Humalog Mix50/50. It contains 50% insulin lispro protamine and 50% insulin lispro. Humalog Mix also comes as a 75/25 mixture called Humalog Mix75/25. It contains 75% insulin lispro protamine and 25% insulin lispro.

Your doctor will advise you on the dosage of NovoLog or Humalog that’s right for you.

A healthcare professional can show you or a caregiver how to give NovoLog or Humalog injections at home.

If you need NovoLog or Humalog while in the hospital, you may receive the drug as an IV infusion. In this case, a healthcare professional will administer the infusions. You will not give yourself IV infusions of NovoLog or Humalog.

Note: For more information about dosage, you can refer to our NovoLog and Humalog dosage articles.

Switching between NovoLog and Humalog is possible.

If you’d like to know more about switching between NovoLog and Humalog, talk with your doctor. They can give you additional details, such as the dosage conversion between the two drugs. Your doctor can also tell you whether there are any side effects when changing from one medication to the other.

Your doctor will help determine the best course of action for your personal situation. Even if two drugs treat the same condition or are in the same drug class, your body can still respond differently. It’s important that you do not stop, start, or switch any of your drug treatments without your doctor’s recommendation.

Here are the active ingredients and other information about NovoLog and Humalog.

NovoLogHumalog
Active ingredients• NovoLog: insulin aspart
• NovoLog Mix: insulin aspart protamine/insulin aspart
• Humalog: insulin lispro
• Humalog Mix: insulin lispro protamine/insulin lispro
Drug classrapid-acting insulinrapid-acting insulin
Generic or biosimilar available?generic (see note below)generic (see note below)

Note: Humalog and NovoLog are biologic drugs, meaning they are made from parts of living cells. This is different from traditional drugs, which are made from chemicals. The active drug in traditional brand-name medications can be copied exactly. These copies are typically made available as generics. Biologics cannot be copied exactly, so they have biosimilars instead of generics.

However, neither Humalog or Novolog have biosimilars. The drugs’ manufacturers were able to authorize generic versions of their insulin products instead of biosimilars. The generic forms of Humalog and Novolog are identical to the brand-name forms, except they have generic names.

NovoLog and Humalog have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following.

  • NovoLog, NovoLog Mix, Humalog, and Humalog Mix are FDA-approved to treat:

NovoLog or Humalog and children

The FDA has approved NovoLog and Humalog to treat the following conditions in children.

  • NovoLog is FDA-approved to treat:
    • type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children ages 2 years and older
  • Humalog is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • type 1 diabetes in children ages 3 years and older with an insulin pump

Note: For more information about the drugs’ uses, see our articles about NovoLog and Humalog.

Both NovoLog and Humalog are rapid-acting insulins. These drugs can cause some of the same side effects, as well as some different ones. Some of the side effects reported for these drugs are mentioned below.

Mild side effects

The following table lists some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of NovoLog and Humalog. The table may also include mild side effects that are less common but that you might have concerns about in some cases.

Mild side effectsNovoLogHumalog
injection site reactions, such as discoloration or swelling around the injection areaxx
swelling in the hands or feetxx
itchingxx
skin rashxx
weight gainxx
digestive problems, such as nausea and diarrheaxx
headachexx
weak reflexesx
mildly low blood sugar levelxx
mild allergic reactionx*x

* An allergic reaction is possible after using NovoLog, but this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials of NovoLog or NovoLog Mix 70/30.

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. If the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

The following table lists the reported serious side effects of NovoLog and Humalog.

Serious side effectsNovoLogHumalog
low blood potassium levelxx
severely low blood sugar levelxx
severe allergic reactionx*x

* An allergic reaction is possible after using NovoLog, but there were no reports of this side effect in clinical trials of NovoLog or NovoLog Mix 70/30.

If you have serious side effects while using NovoLog or Humalog, call your doctor immediately. If the side effects feel life threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

Note: For more information about mild and serious side effects, see our NovoLog and Humalog side effect articles. You can also refer to the prescribing information for the form of NovoLog or Humalog you’re using:

Below are details about the effectiveness of NovoLog and Humalog.

Prescribing information. For information about how effective these drugs were in clinical trials, refer to the prescribing information for the form you’re using. For Novolog, see NovoLog or NovoLog Mix 70/30. For Humalog, see Humalog, Humalog Mix50/50, or Humalog Mix75/25.

Keep in mind that trial results may not apply to your individual health situation.

Treatment guidelines. Another way to determine whether a drug is considered effective is to look at treatment guidelines. When an organization includes certain drugs in treatment guidelines, this means that research has shown the drug to be safe and effective.

Rapid-acting insulins, such as NovoLog and Humalog, are recommended treatment options for people with diabetes in guidelines from the American Diabetes Association.

How much NovoLog or Humalog costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. It will also depend on the cost of the supplies you need for injections, such as insulin syringes or insulin pen needles. You can visit Optum Perks for price estimates of NovoLog and Humalog.

Both NovoLog and Humalog are brand-name drugs. Brand-name medications are often more expensive than generics.

NovoLog is not available in a generic form. Humalog is available as a generic. For details, see the note in “Ingredients of NovoLog and Humalog” above.

NovoLog and Humalog may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The two drugs share some of the same precautions, but they also have different ones. Some of these precautions are mentioned below.

If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before using NovoLog or Humalog.

PrecautionNovoLogHumalog
if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredientsxx
if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnantxx
if you’re breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeedingxx
if you have a low blood sugar level or low blood potassium levelxx
if you have kidney or liver problemsxx
if you have heart failure and take a diabetes drug called a thiazolidinedione xx

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, you can refer to our NovoLog and Humalog articles.

Some key points to remember when comparing NovoLog and Humalog include:

  • Both NovoLog and Humalog can be used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults, and type 1 diabetes in certain children.
  • NovoLog works slightly faster than Humalog. Therefore, NovoLog is injected a few minutes closer to mealtimes than Humalog.

If you’d like to learn more about NovoLog or Humalog, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions about similarities and differences between the drugs. They can also help determine if one drug or the other might work well for you.

Note: For more information about diabetes, visit our diabetes hub.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.