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From Turkey:

I wanted to know the differences between the Humalog and Novo's insulin. Can or can't the Humalog be used with a pen injector if it is available?


Humalog® (generic name: lispro insulin) is a modified form of human insulin which works faster than Regular insulin (other names for Regular insulin are soluble and Actrapid) The chemical structure of Humalog is slightly different from human insulin. Both Eli Lilly and Novo-Nordisk make synthetic forms of Human insulin (Humulin and Novolin). Humulin and Novolin are available in short, intermediate and longer-acting forms (US names include Regular, NPH, Lente and Ultralente, although Ultralente is only sold in the USA by Eli Lilly). The longer acting "human insulins" are made by adding chemicals to Regular to make it start to work later and last longer.

Both Eli Lilly and Novo-Nordisk supply Regular, NPH, and combinations or Regular and NPH in cartridge form to be used in pens. In the US, there are 3 pens available, the NovoPen, the BD Pen, and the AutoPen. As of now [November 1996], Humalog® is not available in cartridge form to be used in any pen. It should be available before the end of the year [1996]. I believe it will be compatable with all 3 pens available, though there has been some objection by the maker of the NovoPen. I think we will have to wait until it is formally released to be certain that it can be used in all 3 pens.


[Editor's comment: As this question and answer indicate, the names of all the insulin products are very similar, and can be very confusing. I think that it's best to bring in your old bottle of insulin to the pharmacist when getting refills, and be sure the new one looks the same! (And if you're seeing a new diabetes doctor, bring in your insulin bottles, so the doctor can see exactly what you're taking!) WWQ]

Original posting 15 Nov 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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