What is Levemir?

Levemir, which is also known as insulin detemir, is long acting insulin that is prescribed to patients with diabetes mellitus. Insulin detemir is a man made insulin that works similarly to the hormone we produce naturally. When injected under the skin, this insulin medication works by helping glucose enter the muscle cells to be used for energy. It can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes drugs such as metformin. You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, such as insulin detemir, or you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis.

What is Novolog?

Novolog is a fast acting insulin that is prescribed to patients with diabetes. As a fast acting insulin, it starts to work very quickly to reduce blood sugar levels when it is administered subcutaneously. After using this medication, you are supposed to eat within 5 to 10 minutes. The drug is usually prescribed together with long acting or intermediate acting insulin.

Similarities and differences between Levemir and Novolog


Levemir and novolog are both diabetes drugs that are prescribed to patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both medications are man made insulin that mimics the work of the natural hormone that is produced in the body. Insulin is a natural hormone that helps to control blood sugar levels in the body. When you inject these medications, they help absorb and process glucose to be used or stored by the body’s cells for fuel. This helps to reduce high levels of blood sugar, thus reducing the risk of long term complications such as loss of limbs, blindness, kidney damage, and nerve problems. Both drugs are administered subcutaneously using an injection pen or syringe. Your healthcare provider will show you the best place to inject these medicines. Usually, levemir and novolog are injected into the fat tissue of the abdomen, thigh, upper arm or buttocks. You should not inject the same place twice. Instead, rotate the injection site to reduce the risk of having lipodystrophy. When it comes to side effects, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is the most common side effect of these drugs.


Levemir is a brand name for insulin detemir, while novolog refers to a brand name of insulin aspart. Levemir is a long acting insulin, which means that when insulin detemir is administered subcutaneously, it starts to work after several hours to reduce blood sugar levels, and keeps working in the body for up to 24 hours. On the other hand, novolog is a fast acting insulin, with an onset time of 10 to 20 minutes and peaks after 1 hour. Your doctor may prescribe you take novolog (fast acting insulin) together with levemir (long acting insulin). If these medications are prescribed together, they should be injected separately. However, due to the difference in features between them, they cannot be used interchangeably. Both drugs are expensive medications because they are sold as brand names. However, there is a slight difference in cost where novolog is sold at a higher price compared to levemir.

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.