August 30, 2016
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"What is the diabetes medication insulin and how does it work?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by certain cells in the pancreas called beta cells. Insulin helps the body use blood glucose (a type of sugar) for energy. When we e"...





Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.



NovoLog has a more rapid onset of action and a shorter duration of activity than regular human insulin. An injection of NovoLog should immediately be followed by a meal within 5-10 minutes. Because of NovoLog's short duration of action, a longer acting insulin should also be used in patients with type 1 diabetes and may also be needed in patients with type 2 diabetes. Glucose monitoring is recommended for all patients with diabetes and is particularly important for patients using external pump infusion therapy.

Any change of insulin dose should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision. Changing from one insulin product to another or changing the insulin strength may result in the need for a change in dosage. As with all insulin preparations, the time course of NovoLog action may vary in different individuals or at different times in the same individual and is dependent on many conditions, including the site of injection, local blood supply, temperature, and physical activity. Patients who change their level of physical activity or meal plan may require adjustment of insulin dosages. Insulin requirements may be altered during illness, emotional disturbances, or other stresses.

Patients using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump therapy must be trained to administer insulin by injection and have alternate insulin therapy available in case of pump failure.


Hypoglycemia is the most common adverse effect of all insulin therapies, including NovoLog. Severe hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness and/or convulsions and may result in temporary or permanent impairment of brain function or death. Severe hypoglycemia requiring the assistance of another person and/or parenteral glucose infusion or glucagon administration has been observed in clinical trials with insulin, including trials with NovoLog.

The timing of hypoglycemia usually reflects the time-action profile of the administered insulin formulations [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Other factors such as changes in food intake (e.g., amount of food or timing of meals), injection site, exercise, and concomitant medications may also alter the risk of hypoglycemia [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. As with all insulins, use caution in patients with hypoglycemia unawareness and in patients who may be predisposed to hypoglycemia (e.g., patients who are fasting or have erratic food intake). The patient's ability to concentrate and react may be impaired as a result of hypoglycemia. This may present a risk in situations where these abilities are especially important, such as driving or operating other machinery.

Rapid changes in serum glucose levels may induce symptoms of hypoglycemia in persons with diabetes, regardless of the glucose value. Early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia may be different or less pronounced under certain conditions, such as longstanding diabetes, diabetic nerve disease, use of medications such as beta-blockers, or intensified diabetes control [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. These situations may result in severe hypoglycemia (and, possibly, loss of consciousness) prior to the patient's awareness of hypoglycemia. Intravenously administered insulin has a more rapid onset of action than subcutaneously administered insulin, requiring more close monitoring for hypoglycemia.


All insulin products, including NovoLog, cause a shift in potassium from the extracellular to intracellular space, possibly leading to hypokalemia that, if left untreated, may cause respiratory paralysis, ventricular arrhythmia, and death. Use caution in patients who may be at risk for hypokalemia (e.g., patients using potassium-lowering medications, patients taking medications sensitive to serum potassium concentrations, and patients receiving intravenously administered insulin).

Renal Impairment

As with other insulins, the dose requirements for NovoLog may be reduced in patients with renal impairment [see Use in Specific Populations].

Hepatic Impairment

As with other insulins, the dose requirements for NovoLog may be reduced in patients with hepatic impairment [see Use in Specific Populations].

Hypersensitivity And Allergic Reactions

Local Reactions

As with other insulin therapy, patients may experience redness, swelling, or itching at the site of NovoLog injection. These reactions usually resolve in a few days to a few weeks, but in some occasions, may require discontinuation of NovoLog. In some instances, these reactions may be related to factors other than insulin, such as irritants in a skin cleansing agent or poor injection technique. Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with injected metacresol, which is an excipient in NovoLog.

Systemic Reactions

Severe, life-threatening, generalized allergy, including anaphylaxis, may occur with any insulin product, including NovoLog. Anaphylactic reactions with NovoLog have been reported post-approval. Generalized allergy to insulin may also cause whole body rash (including pruritus), dyspnea, wheezing, hypotension, tachycardia, or diaphoresis. In controlled clinical trials, allergic reactions were reported in 3 of 735 patients (0.4%) treated with regular human insulin and 10 of 1394 patients (0.7%) treated with NovoLog. In controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials, 3 of 2341 (0.1%) NovoLog-treated patients discontinued due to allergic reactions.

Antibody Production

Increases in anti-insulin antibody titers that react with both human insulin and insulin aspart have been observed in patients treated with NovoLog. Increases in anti-insulin antibodies are observed more frequently with NovoLog than with regular human insulin. Data from a 12month controlled trial in patients with type 1 diabetes suggest that the increase in these antibodies is transient, and the differences in antibody levels between the regular human insulin and insulin aspart treatment groups observed at 3 and 6 months were no longer evident at 12 months. The clinical significance of these antibodies is not known. These antibodies do not appear to cause deterioration in glycemic control or necessitate increases in insulin dose.

Mixing Of Insulins

  • Mixing NovoLog with NPH human insulin immediately before injection attenuates the peak concentration of NovoLog, without significantly affecting the time to peak concentration or total bioavailability of NovoLog. If NovoLog is mixed with NPH human insulin, NovoLog should be drawn into the syringe first, and the mixture should be injected immediately after mixing.
  • The efficacy and safety of mixing NovoLog with insulin preparations produced by other manufacturers have not been studied.
  • Insulin mixtures should not be administered intravenously.

Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion By External Pump

When used in an external subcutaneous insulin infusion pump, NovoLog should not be mixed with any other insulin or diluent. When using NovoLog in an external insulin pump, the NovoLog-specific information should be followed (e.g., in-use time, frequency of changing infusion sets) because NovoLog-specific information may differ from general pump manual instructions.

Pump or infusion set malfunctions or insulin degradation can lead to a rapid onset of hyperglycemia and ketosis because of the small subcutaneous depot of insulin. This is especially pertinent for rapid-acting insulin analogs that are more rapidly absorbed through skin and have a shorter duration of action. Prompt identification and correction of the cause of hyperglycemia or ketosis is necessary. Interim therapy with subcutaneous injection may be required [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, sections on Mixing of Insulins and Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion by External Pump above,HOW SUPPLIED/Storage and Handling, and PATIENT INFORMATION].

NovoLog should not be exposed to temperatures greater than 37°C (98.6°F). NovoLog that will be used in a pump should not be mixed with other insulin or with a diluent [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION,sections on Mixing of Insulins and Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion by External Pump above, HOW SUPPLIED/Storage and Handling, and PATIENT INFORMATION].

Fluid Retention And Heart Failure With Concomitant Use Of PPAR-gamma Agonists

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs), which are peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma agonists, can cause dose-related fluid retention, particularly when used in combination with insulin. Fluid retention may lead to or exacerbate heart failure. Patients treated with insulin, including NovoLog, and a PPAR-gamma agonist should be observed for signs and symptoms of heart failure. If heart failure develops, it should be managed according to current standards of care, and discontinuation or dose reduction of the PPAR-gamma agonist must be considered.

Patient Counseling Information

[See FDA Approved Patient Labeling]

Physician Instructions

Maintenance of normal or near-normal glucose control is a treatment goal in diabetes mellitus and has been associated with a reduction in diabetic complications. Patients should be informed about potential risks and benefits of NovoLog therapy including the possible adverse reactions. Patients should also be offered continued education and advice on insulin therapies, injection technique, life-style management, regular glucose monitoring, periodic glycosylated hemoglobin testing, recognition and management of hypo- and hyperglycemia, adherence to meal planning, complications of insulin therapy, timing of dose, instruction in the use of injection or subcutaneous infusion devices, and proper storage of insulin. Patients should be informed that frequent, patient-performed blood glucose measurements are needed to achieve optimal glycemic control and avoid both hyper- and hypoglycemia.

Patients should receive proper training on how to use NovoLog. Instruct patients that when injecting NovoLog, they must press and hold down the dose button until the dose counter shows 0 and then keep the needle in the skin and count slowly to 6. When the dose counter returns to 0, the prescribed dose is not completely delivered until 6 seconds later. If the needle is removed earlier, they may see a stream of insulin coming from the needle tip. If so, the full dose will not be delivered (a possible under-dose may occur by as much as 20%), and they should increase the frequency of checking their blood glucose levels and possible additional insulin administration may be necessary.

  • If 0 does not appear in the dose counter after continuously pressing the dose button, the patient may have used a blocked needle. In this case they would not have received any insulin – even though the dose counter has moved from the original dose that was set.
  • If the patient did have a blocked needle, instruct them to change the needle as described in Section 5 of the Instructions for Use and repeat all steps in the IFU starting with Section 1: Prepare your pen with a new needle. Make sure the patient selects the full dose needed.

The patient's ability to concentrate and react may be impaired as a result of hypoglycemia. This may present a risk in situations where these abilities are especially important, such as driving or operating other machinery. Patients who have frequent hypoglycemia or reduced or absent warning signs of hypoglycemia should be advised to use caution when driving or operating machinery.

Accidental substitutions between NovoLog and other insulin products have been reported. Patients should be instructed to always carefully check that they are administering the appropriate insulin to avoid medication errors between NovoLog and any other insulin. The written prescription for NovoLog should be written clearly, to avoid confusion with other insulin products, for example, NovoLog Mix 70/30.

Patients Using Pumps

Patients using external pump infusion therapy should be trained in intensive insulin therapy with multiple injections and in the function of their pump and pump accessories.

The following insulin pumps† have been used in NovoLog clinical or in vitro studies conducted by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of NovoLog:

  • Medtronic Paradigm® 512 and 712
  • MiniMed 508
  • Disetronic® D-TRON® and H-TRON®

Before using another insulin pump with NovoLog, read the pump label to make sure the pump has been evaluated with NovoLog.

NovoLog is recommended for use in any reservoir and infusion sets that are compatible with insulin and the specific pump. Please see recommended reservoir and infusion sets in the pump manual.

To avoid insulin degradation, infusion set occlusion, and loss of the preservative (metacresol), insulin in the reservoir should be replaced at least every 6 days; infusion sets and infusion set insertion sites should be changed at least every 3 days.

Insulin exposed to temperatures higher than 37°C (98.6°F) should be discarded. The temperature of the insulin may exceed ambient temperature when the pump housing, cover, tubing, or sport case is exposed to sunlight or radiant heat. Infusion sites that are erythematous, pruritic, or thickened should be reported to medical personnel, and a new site selected because continued infusion may increase the skin reaction and/or alter the absorption of NovoLog. Pump or infusion set malfunctions or insulin degradation can lead to hyperglycemia and ketosis in a short time because of the small subcutaneous depot of insulin. This is especially pertinent for rapid-acting insulin analogs that are more rapidly absorbed through skin and have shorter duration of action. These differences are particularly relevant when patients are switched from multiple injection therapy. Prompt identification and correction of the cause of hyperglycemia or ketosis is necessary. Problems include pump malfunction, infusion set occlusion, leakage, disconnection or kinking, and degraded insulin. Less commonly, hypoglycemia from pump malfunction may occur. If these problems cannot be promptly corrected, patients should resume therapy with subcutaneous insulin injection and contact their physician [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and HOW SUPPLIED/Storage and Handling].

FDA Approved Patient Labeling

See separate leaflet.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Standard 2-year carcinogenicity studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of NovoLog. In 52-week studies, Sprague-Dawley rats were dosed subcutaneously with NovoLog at 10, 50, and 200 U/kg/day (approximately 2, 8, and 32 times the human subcutaneous dose of 1.0 U/kg/day, based on U/body surface area, respectively). At a dose of 200 U/kg/day, NovoLog increased the incidence of mammary gland tumors in females when compared to untreated controls. The incidence of mammary tumors for NovoLog was not significantly different than for regular human insulin. The relevance of these findings to humans is not known. NovoLog was not genotoxic in the following tests: Ames test, mouse lymphoma cell forward gene mutation test, human peripheral blood lymphocyte chromosome aberration test, in vivo micronucleus test in mice, and in ex vivo UDS test in rat liver hepatocytes. In fertility studies in male and female rats, at subcutaneous doses up to 200 U/kg/day (approximately 32 times the human subcutaneous dose, based on U/body surface area), no direct adverse effects on male and female fertility, or general reproductive performance of animals was observed.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category B. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defects, loss, or other adverse outcome regardless of drug exposure. This background risk is increased in pregnancies complicated by hyperglycemia and may be decreased with good metabolic control. It is essential for patients with diabetes or history of gestational diabetes to maintain good metabolic control before conception and throughout pregnancy. Insulin requirements may decrease during the first trimester, generally increase during the second and third trimesters, and rapidly decline after delivery. Careful monitoring of glucose control is essential in these patients. Therefore, female patients should be advised to tell their physician if they intend to become, or if they become pregnant while taking NovoLog.

An open-label, randomized study compared the safety and efficacy of NovoLog (n=157) versus regular human insulin (n=165) in 322 pregnant women with type 1 diabetes. Two-thirds of the enrolled patients were already pregnant when they entered the study. Because only one-third of the patients enrolled before conception, the study was not large enough to evaluate the risk of congenital malformations. Both groups achieved a mean HbA1c of ~ 6% during pregnancy, and there was no significant difference in the incidence of maternal hypoglycemia.

Subcutaneous reproduction and teratology studies have been performed with NovoLog and regular human insulin in rats and rabbits. In these studies, NovoLog was given to female rats before mating, during mating, and throughout pregnancy, and to rabbits during organogenesis. The effects of NovoLog did not differ from those observed with subcutaneous regular human insulin. NovoLog, like human insulin, caused pre- and post-implantation losses and visceral/skeletal abnormalities in rats at a dose of 200 U/kg/day (approximately 32 times the human subcutaneous dose of 1.0 U/kg/day, based on U/body surface area) and in rabbits at a dose of 10 U/kg/day (approximately three times the human subcutaneous dose of 1.0 U/kg/day, based on U/body surface area). The effects are probably secondary to maternal hypoglycemia at high doses. No significant effects were observed in rats at a dose of 50 U/kg/day and in rabbits at a dose of 3 U/kg/day. These doses are approximately 8 times the human subcutaneous dose of 1.0 U/kg/day for rats and equal to the human subcutaneous dose of 1.0 U/kg/day for rabbits, based on U/body surface area.

Nursing Mothers

It is unknown whether insulin aspart is excreted in human milk. Use of NovoLog is compatible with breastfeeding, but women with diabetes who are lactating may require adjustments of their insulin doses.

Pediatric Use

NovoLog is approved for use in children for subcutaneous daily injections and for subcutaneous continuous infusion by external insulin pump. NovoLog has not been studied in pediatric patients younger than 2 years of age. NovoLog has not been studied in pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes. Please see Clinical Studies for summaries of clinical studies.

Geriatric Use

Of the total number of patients (n= 1,375) treated with NovoLog in 3 controlled clinical studies, 2.6% (n=36) were 65 years of age or over. One-half of these patients had type 1 diabetes (18/1285) and the other half had type 2 diabetes (18/90). The HbA1c response to NovoLog, as compared to human insulin, did not differ by age.


There was no significant difference in efficacy noted (as assessed by HbAlc) between genders in a trial in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Renal Impairment

Careful glucose monitoring and dose adjustments of insulin, including NovoLog, may be necessary in patients with renal impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Hepatic Impairment

Careful glucose monitoring and dose adjustments of insulin, including NovoLog, may be necessary in patients with hepatic impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/28/2015


NovoLog - User Reviews

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