Effective diabetes management often requires insulin therapy. With 150 to 200 million people globally relying on insulin, selecting the right type of insulin is vital. However, with so many options, such as Humulin and Humalog, making this choice can be challenging. It is not just about selecting insulin but also ensuring that it suits your health needs, lifestyle, and diabetes management plan.

Both Humulin and Humalog are used to manage blood sugar levels. However, they work differently and have distinct effects on the body. In this article, you will learn about the key differences between Humulin and Humalog. You will explore how quickly they start to work, their peak activity times, and how long their effects last.

Key Takeaways

  • Humulin offers various formulations with different onset times and durations, from short-acting Humulin R starting within 30 minutes to intermediate Humulin N starting within 2-4 hours. Humalog, on the other hand, acts much faster, beginning within 15 minutes, making it more suited for rapid blood sugar control during meals.
  • Humulin is formulated as human insulin, closely resembling naturally occurring insulin. In contrast, Humalog is a human insulin analog, genetically modified for faster absorption and shorter duration, which is beneficial for managing blood sugar spikes during and after meals.
  • Both Humulin and Humalog offer combination insulin options. Humulin offers mixtures like Humulin 70/30 and Humulin 50/50, providing basal and prandial insulin in one injection. Humalog also offers combinations such as Humalog Mix 50/50 and Humalog Mix 75/25, catering to immediate and prolonged insulin action needs.
  • Both insulins share similar side effects, such as hypoglycemia, weight gain, mood changes, and potential injection site reactions. They also have similar drug interaction profiles, affecting their activity when combined with medications like antidepressants, corticosteroids, and diuretics.
  • Humalog’s rapid action allows it to be administered just before meals, offering flexibility and better control of post-meal blood glucose spikes. Humulin typically requires administration about 30 minutes before meals, which requires more planning.
  • Both Humulin and Humalog have been proven effective in managing diabetes. Humulin is well-studied for its consistent efficacy and safety, making it a reliable choice for long-term use. Humalog, particularly effective in reducing post-meal glucose levels, is advantageous for immediate glucose control, thus enhancing flexibility and quality of life for diabetics using insulin pumps.
 HumulinHumalog
TypeHuman InsulinHuman Insulin Analalog
Onset of Action

Varies by type:

  • Humulin R: 30 mins
  • Humulin N: 2-4 hours
  • Humulin 70:30: 10-20 mins

Rapid-acting:

  • Humalog: 0-15 mins
  • Humalog Mix: 10-20 mins
Composition
  • Humulin R: Regular human insulin
  • Humulin N: Insulin isophane
  • Humulin 70:30: Combination of intermediate and short-acting
  • Humalog: Insulin lispro
  • Humalog Mix: Insulin lispro protamine and insulin lispro
Dosage Timing
  • Humulin R: 30 mins before meal
  • Humulin N: As per the dosing schedule
  • Humulin 70:30: 30 mins before meal
  • Humalog: 15 minutes before or immediately after a meal
  • Humalog Mix: As per the dosing schedule
Side Effects & Drug Interactions
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Low potassium levels
  • Mood changes
  • Rash and injection site reactions
  • Interacting medicines include antidepressants, antipsychotics, corticosteroids, diuretics, and more
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Low potassium levels
  •  Mood changes
  • Rash and injection site reactions
  • Interacting medicines include antidepressants, antipsychotics, corticosteroids, diuretics, and more

What is Humulin?

Humulin is a brand of insulin used to manage blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes. Produced by Eli Lilly and Company, Humulin is formulated as human insulin, identical in structure to naturally occurring insulin produced by the pancreas. This form of insulin is essential for people whose bodies do not produce enough insulin naturally.

Types of Humulin and Their Uses

Humulin R

Humulin R is a short-acting insulin used to manage blood sugar levels. It starts working within 30 minutes of injection, peaks in about 2 to 3 hours, and can continue to work for up to 8 hours. Typically, it is administered shortly before meals to help control blood sugar levels that rise after eating.

Humulin N

Humulin N is a type of intermediate-acting insulin that begins to work within 2 to 4 hours, peaks between 4 to 12 hours, and has effects lasting about 12 to 18 hours. It is usually used as basal insulin coverage to help control blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Humulin 70/30

Humulin 70/30 is a combination insulin that contains 70% NPH (intermediate-acting) and 30% Regular (short-acting) insulin. This pre-mixed insulin starts to work within 10 to 20 minutes after injection and peaks in about 2 hours. It continues to work for up to 24 hours. It is specifically designed for people requiring immediate and prolonged insulin action to manage their blood sugar levels throughout the day and after meals.

Humulin 50/50

Humulin 50/50 combines 50% NPH, intermediate-acting insulin, and 50% regular, short-acting insulin. It offers immediate and extended insulin action but with a different proportion of short and intermediate-acting insulins compared to Humulin 70/30.

What is Humalog?

Humalog is a human insulin analog used to control blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. Unlike traditional human insulin, Humalog has been genetically modified to speed up its absorption into the bloodstream, enabling a faster onset of action and a shorter duration of effectiveness. This makes it particularly useful for controlling blood sugar levels during and after meals.

Types of Humalog and Their Uses

Insulin Lispro (Humalog)

Humalog, also known as insulin lispro, is a type of fast-acting insulin. It starts to work within 15 minutes after injection and reaches its peak effectiveness in about 30 to 90 minutes. Its duration of action is shorter, lasting only 2 to 4 hours. Due to its rapid action, it can be taken just before meals, giving more flexibility and better control over blood sugar levels after eating. Humalog is usually administered before meals to prevent spikes in blood glucose levels that often occur after eating.

Humalog Mix 50:50

Humalog Mix 50:50 is a pre-mixed formulation that combines 50% insulin lispro protamine—a longer-acting form—with 50% insulin lispro, which is rapid-acting. This combination approach allows immediate and prolonged insulin action, making it useful for controlling blood sugar throughout the day and night and for mealtime glucose control. Humalog Mix 50:50 is generally taken before meals and simplifies the regimen for patients who require consistent blood sugar management.

Humalog Mix 75:25

Humalog Mix 75:25 is a type of insulin that contains 75% insulin lispro protamine and 25% insulin lispro. It is similar to Humalog Mix 50:50 but with a different proportion. This mix is suitable for managing blood sugar spikes caused by meals and offers more prolonged action due to the higher percentage of the protamine-bound form. Humalog Mix 75:25 is typically administered before meals to provide basal and prandial insulin in one injection.

Genetic Modification and Absorption

The primary modification in Humalog involves switching the positions of the amino acids proline and lysine at positions 28 and 29 on the beta chain of insulin. This change prevents the formation of hexamers, allowing Humalog to be absorbed faster and start working sooner than regular human insulin. This rapid absorption is critical for insulin to control mealtime blood sugar levels effectively.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions: Humulin vs. Humalog

Both Humulin and Humalog are essential insulin therapies used in diabetes management. Despite their differences in formulation and action time, they share many of the same side effects and potential drug interactions. Understanding these can help manage expectations and improve safety during treatment.

Common Side Effects

Both insulins can cause a range of side effects, which typically include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels): The most common and concerning side effect, which can occur if insulin is dosed too high relative to dietary intake and energy expenditure.
  • Weight gain: Often observed when starting insulin therapy as the body adjusts to lower blood sugar levels and better calorie utilization.
  • Changes in eyesight: Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can affect eyesight temporarily until sugar levels stabilize.
  • Mood changes: Blood sugar variations can influence mood, causing symptoms such as irritability or depression.
  • Rash and injection site reactions: Local allergic reactions can occur, including redness, swelling, and itching at the injection site.
  • Low potassium levels (hypokalemia): Insulin can cause potassium to shift into cells, potentially leading to a deficiency.

Drug Interactions

Insulin can interact with various medications, which may enhance or weaken the effect of insulin or increase the risk of side effects. Common interactions include:

  • Antidepressants (e.g., fluoxetine, escitalopram)
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., aripiprazole, clozapine)
  • Clonidine
  • Corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone)
  • Diuretics (e.g., bendroflumethiazide)
  • Fluoroquinolones (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin)
  • HIV medicines (e.g., atazanavir, ritonavir)
  • Hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)
  • Lithium
  • Octreotide
  • Orlistat
  • Other antidiabetic agents (e.g., glyburide, glipizide)
  • Pentamidine
  • Pentoxifylline
  • Propoxyphene
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Salicylates (e.g., aspirin)
  • Salmeterol
  • Cardiovascular medications (e.g., beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARBs)
  • Sulfonamide antibiotics
  • Turmeric

Which is Better in Treating Diabetes, Humulin or Humalog?

Humulin has been extensively studied and demonstrated to be effective in diabetes therapy. It is bioequivalent to semisynthetic human insulins, ensuring a seamless patient transition without adjusting insulin dosages. Clinical studies have confirmed consistent efficacy and safety profiles for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients transitioning to Humulin from other insulin types.

For instance, a 54-week randomized, open-label study compared Humulin with another recombinant insulin, Insuman, showing no significant differences in key diabetes management outcomes such as glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) reduction and fasting blood glucose levels.

Both insulin treatments achieved similar reductions in HbA1c, with changes ranging around -0.85% to -0.94% from baseline in one study. Furthermore, the incidence of adverse events, including hypoglycemia, was comparable between the groups, indicating Humulin’s reliability and safety in long-term use.

On the other hand, Humalog has also proven effective in numerous studies. For instance, it helps reduce sugar levels after meals better than older types of insulin. In type 1 diabetes, one study showed that Humalog reduced sugar levels after meals to 11.7 mmol/L, compared to 15.0 mmol/L with regular insulin. In type 2 diabetes, Humalog decreased the rise in blood sugar two hours after eating by 53% compared to regular insulin, making it a significant improvement for controlling blood sugar spikes after meals.

Humalog has also shown benefits for those using insulin pumps. It helped improve overall blood sugar control and kept A1C levels lower than regular insulin. Studies have shown that Humalog is effective for both adults and children, making it a flexible option for managing diabetes with insulin.

The Cost of Humulin and Humalog

BrandStrengthUS PriceOur Price (Per Quantity)% SAVINGS
Humalog Vial100u/ml$86.59 per 1 vial$52 per 1 vial39.92%
Humalog Cartridge100u/ml$177.42 per 5 pens$102 per 5 cartridges42.51%
Humalog KwikPen (50:50)100u/ml$183.98 per 5 pens$102 per 5 pens44.57%
Humalog KwikPen 100100u/ml$183.98 per 5 pens$102 per 5 pens44.57%
Humalog Junior KwikPen100u/ml$183.01 per 5 pens$108 per 5 pens40.97%
Humalog KwikPen 200200u/ml$1,179.00 per 5 pens$159 per 5 pens86.52%
Humalog Mix 25100u/ml$184.01 per 5 pens$102 per 5 pens44.56%
Humalog Mix 75:25100u/ml$184.01 per 5 pensNot AvailableN/A
Humalog Mix 50100u/ml$177.00 per 5 pens$102 per 5 pens42.37%
Humulin R Vial100u/ml$155.80 per 1 vial$59 per 1 vial62.12%
Humulin N Vial100u/ml$155.12 per 1 vial$59 per 1 vial61.97%
Humulin N KwikPen100u/ml$158.39$82 per 15 ml48.23%
Humulin 70/30100u/ml$154.47 per 1 vial$59 per 1 vial61.81%
Humulin 70/30 cartridge100u/ml$101.99 per 5 cartridges$79 per 5 cartridges22.53%
Humulin 50/50100u/ml$177 per 1 vialNot AvailableN/A

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Final Thoughts

When choosing between Humulin and Humalog, it’s essential to understand their differences and how they work in your body. Humulin comes in various forms like Humulin R, N, 70/30, and 50/50, each serving different needs for managing blood sugar levels. On the other hand, Humalog, available as Insulin Lispro and mixes like 50/50 and 75/25, acts quickly to control spikes in blood sugar, often used right before meals.

Both types have their specific uses, side effects, and interactions with other drugs. The cost of each can also vary, influencing your choice based on your budget. By knowing these details, you can make a more informed decision about which insulin type fits your lifestyle and treatment plan best.

FAQs About Humulin And Humalog

Is Humulin and Humalog the same?

No, Humulin and Humalog are not the same. Humulin is a brand of insulin that includes different types such as Humulin R (regular insulin) and Humulin N (NPH insulin). Humalog is a brand of insulin lispro, a rapid-acting insulin.

Which is better, Humulin or Humalog?

The effectiveness of Humulin versus Humalog depends on individual needs and the specific type of insulin required. Humulin R is a short-acting insulin, while Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin. Humalog is a rapid-acting insulin, which means it works quickly to lower blood sugar levels.

What is a substitute for Humulin?

A common substitute for Humulin R (regular insulin) is Novolin R. For Humulin N (NPH insulin), a substitute could be Novolin N. These insulins have similar profiles and are used for similar purposes.

What is a good substitute for Humalog?

A good substitute for Humalog may include other rapid-acting insulin analogs such as Novolog (insulin aspart) or Apidra (insulin glulisine).

Can you give Humulin N and Humalog together?

Yes, Humulin N (NPH insulin) and Humalog (insulin lispro) can be used together. Humulin N is an intermediate-acting insulin that helps control blood sugar levels throughout the day, while Humalog is a rapid-acting insulin used to control blood sugar levels at meal times.

How much Humalog should I take if my sugar is 300?

If your blood sugar is 300, the recommended starting dose of Humalog (insulin lispro) is about 4 units, or approximately 10% of your long-acting insulin dose

What brand of insulin is Humalog?

Humalog is a brand of insulin lispro, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company.

What is a cheaper alternative to Humalog?

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Humalog, Admelog might be a good option. You can purchase Admelog from BuyCanadianInsulin.com for $70.00 per vial.

Where are the best spots to inject Humulin and Humalog?

The best spots to inject are the abdomen, thighs, and upper arm.

What types of diabetes are Humulin and Humalog used for?

They are used for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Sources

Lilly USA, LLC. (2024). Humalog® U-100 Efficacy | HCPs | Humalog® (insulin lispro) injection. Retrieved from https://www.humalog.com/hcp/u100

Landgraf, W., & Sandow, J. (2016). Recombinant Human Insulins – Clinical Efficacy and Safety in Diabetes Therapy. European Endocrinology, 12(1), 12–17.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813452/