What is Novolin?

Novolin is a man-made insulin drug that is prescribed to diabetic patients. This medication can be used to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Novolin can be used with oral diabetes drugs in type 2 diabetes patients. For patients with type 1 diabetes, this medication can be prescribed in combination with long-acting or intermediate-acting insulin. The levels of your blood sugar will vary depending on your blood glucose levels and other medications you are taking.

What is Humalog?

Humalog is a fast-acting insulin that is prescribed together with diet and exercise to control the levels of blood sugar in people with diabetes mellitus. If taken with meals, it is advisable you inject Humalog within 15 minutes before you eat or immediately after eating. Do not inject this medicine if you are allergic to insulin lispro or if you are experiencing episodes of low blood sugar.

Similarities and differences between Humalog vs. Novolin


Both Novolin and Humalog are injectable insulins that are used to treat patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both medications are part of a whole treatment program that also includes weight control, exercise, diet, and monitoring blood glucose. When administered subcutaneously, both drugs work by replacing the function of the natural hormone insulin, which is to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the body tissue for fuel. This helps to control high levels of blood glucose in diabetic patients. They are both rapid-acting insulins that are usually prescribed together with intermediate- or long-acting insulin. There are some side effects which are similar between Novolin and Humalog. Examples include low blood sugar, weight gain, and swelling at injection site. Despite the similarities between these medications, there are important differences between them. Thus, cannot be used interchangeably. The type of insulin drug that your doctor prescribes to you will vary depending on how much your blood glucose level fluctuates every day.


Humalog is the brand name of insulin lispro, while Novolin is also referred to as insulin regular. Both medications work very fast to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. However, there is a slight difference in timing. To understand how the timing of Novolin and Humalog differ, it is important you understand the meaning of onset time, peak, and duration. Onset refers to the time insulin takes before it starts to work in the body to lower high levels of blood sugar. Peak refers to the time when insulin is most effective in lowering the levels of blood sugar. Duration is the length of time it takes for insulin to keep working in the body. Novolin has an onset time of 30 minutes, peaks after about 2 to 3 hours and has a duration of 5 to 8 hours. On the other hand, Humalog is a rapid acting insulin with an onset time of 15 minutes, peaks after 60 minutes and has a period of 2 to 4 hours.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.