What is Novolog (Insulin Aspart)?

Novolog is an injectable insulin drug that is used to treat people who have diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of medical conditions that includes type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes. Insulin aspart, also known as its brand name Novolog, works the same as the insulin hormone. However, aspart insulin , works faster and lasts for a shorter period of time compared to regular insulin. As a fast-acting insulin, Novolog has an onset of about 15 minutes and a peak time of 1 hour. This injectable insulin drug has a period that lasts up to 4 hours after injection. Novolog is available in prefilled pens and injectable suspension. When you inject this medication, it works by reducing high amount of blood glucose. Insulin aspart is sometimes taken together with intermediate-acting or long-acting insulin.

How Does Novolog Work?

You may hear the diabetes team management refer to Novolog by a few other names such as analog insulin, since its synthetic insulin which almost resembles the natural insulin released by the body. Additionally, it’s taken at mealtime, hence the name bolus or mealtime insulin. It works by helping move glucose from the bloodstream to different areas of the body and preventing the liver from releasing more glucose. The drug contains insulin aspart as the active ingredient and its fast-acting insulin, which starts working about 15 minutes after taking the shot since it lowers glucose levels quickly. It gets to its peak after one hour and it’s active for two to four hours. However, this isn’t applicable to everyone (this medication may not be absorbed into the bloodstream rapidly). Thus, the best thing is to take the shot and observe how fast the medication will get into the bloodstream, the time when the medicine will get to its peak and the duration it will remain active in controlling the blood sugar levels. The following are factors which may make Novolog differ from what is considered normal it terms of onset, peak, and duration:

  • The thickness of the bottom layer of the skin at the injection spot
  • Temperature
  • Blood flow
  • Exercise
  • The dose of the medicine

As the drug is given through injection, the nurse will take you through training on how to give the Novolog shot. The beauty about this medication is that it comes with a flex pen making it easier to self-administer the shot. Handle the flex pen with care and don’t drop it since it may be destroyed. Wipe the outside of the flex pen using a damp cloth if you wish to clean it but avoid soaking or washing it. However, expect to be faced with side effects of Novolog in the course of its use. The medicine can be used in combination with long-acting insulin or intermediate acting insulin.

The doctor can also prescribe Novolog 70/30 which is a pre- mixed insulin containing a long-acting and rapid-acting insulin; in this case, it’s a combination of 30 percent of insulin aspart and 70 percent of insulin aspart protamine). Why use mix 70/30? It may be used if one have just started the insulin therapy and its injected 15 minutes prior a meal or after starting the meal, but this type of drug can lead to negative effects which are the same to Novolog insulin side effects.

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.