Humulin R Gives Me Better Results Than Humalog/Novolog/Fiasp


I’m a very brittle Type 1 diabetic who has suffered from Type 1 for 40 years (I was diagnosed at age 23 and I’m now 61).

I’ve been using a Dexcom G6 CGM for 3 months.

I use Tujeo or Levamir for all-day basal level long-acting control…

For mealtime insulin, I’ve used “fast acting” insulins as Humalog and Novolog since they became available about 25 years ago. I have superb ObamaCare “platinum level” insurance, so I pay no more than $20.00 for a month’s supply (2.5 vials/month).

Over the years, especially in the last 8 years, I’ve found that I don’t get any “action” from Humalog or Novolog (10 ml vials) for 3 to 4 hours after injection after which they cause a quick reduction in my blood sugar (200 --> 80 in 20 minutes or so)… The problem is that their “action” doesn’t happen for a looooong time after injecting and it’s unpredictable. I’ve tried different injection sites (arm, leg, belly, intra-muscular) with the same unpredictable and highly undesirable results…

I know, I know… It’s “scientific fact” that Humalog and Novolog are supposed to start acting within a half hour after injection.

Two months ago, I substituted Fiasp (10 ml vials) for the Humalog/Novolog. Same price ($20 for a month’s supply)… so cost is not prejudicing my report here. Although the results were better than Humalog/Novolog, I still was waiting for 1.5 to 2.0 hours for the insulin to have any effect on my blood sugar level and the “peak bolus action” was still unpredicatable…

I was shopping at Walmart a few days ago and just on a whim, bought a vial of Humulin R which is sold for $25.00 per vial over-the-counter (that is, without prescription) at Walmart.

Being peeved off at my situation with the “fast acting insulins” such as Humalog/Novolog/Fiasp, I injected 15 units of this “old-fashioned” insulin before brunch (my big meal of the day). I had not had any Fiasp since 6 PM the night before and had not eaten since 9 PM the night before.

To my incredible shock, this Humulin R started to gently lower my blood sugar in less than 15 minutes after subcutaneous injection into my belly. Within 25 minutes my blood sugar had been lowered from about 210 (tested with a finger stick) to 80! My blood sugar hovered around 130 to 140 until dinnertime (at about 8 PM).

Planning to eat dinner, and wanting to test my fantastic results with Walmart Humulin R, I took 15 units about 15 minutes before eating. Same fantastic results. Blood sugar lowered from 160 to 75 in about 20-25 minutes, wonderful blood sugars while I slept (130-140 as measured by the Dexcom G6) and great control till noon today when my fasting blood sugar rose back to about 200.

Same results from today’s brunch…

I haven’t had this fantastic blood sugar control in YEARS… Although your results may vary, this $25 Walmart Humulin R is both affordable (Humalog/Novolog/Fiasp cost over $150 a vial if you don’t have insurance), gives fabulous and predictable blood sugar control and is readily available.

Moral of the story… Don’t go chasing after the latest insulin fads that the drug companies are advertising, especially if you don’t have insurance. Trying Walmart insulins (they have NPH as well) may obviate your need to spend incredible amounts of money for the “latest fads” in insulin…

Personally, I’m sticking with Humulin R and am going to have my doctor prescribe it so that my insurance will cover it. THANK YOU WALMART!!!


Regular insulin gets a bad rap. I agree with you that its onset and duration are more predictable than the insulin analogues, but it doesn’t start fast enough for me to use it as my primary bolus insulin for most things I eat. As with everything, do what works.


I think that’s wonderful that you have found something that works!!! And thanks for sharing as I’m sure there’s someone else out there that information will be very useful. Any one of us could be in the same boat as you are years from now, so these little tidbits can really be appreciated by someone at some point in time!

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Thanks for your kind words. I tend to get a bit wordy in my posts, but I wanted to tell of my long struggle with getting good control. Despite my years of poor control using Humalog/Novolog/Fiasp, I have no eye problems, kidney damage, or diabetic neuropathy. I look forward to many more healthy years with my Dexcom G6, Humulin R, and Toujeo/Lantus/Levamir


Having done the R/N thing from 1983 to about 2003, I have very strong negative feelings about it, but in retrospect I think it was really NPH that caused me the most problems because the peak was so strong and so far out from when you injected the stuff that it forced you to be very regimented, and even with that it could spring a totally unexpected and severe low on you if you varied from your routine—or for no apparent reason whatsoever. Using it in combination with R added an extra layer of unpredictability because of the overlap of effect curves. If the R was still tailing off while N came on things could get ugly. But either one on its own is maybe a different story. R isn’t nearly as problematic as NPH, and I’ve seen people express a preference for NPH, too, so I try not to let my own revulsion color my opinions.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that you can get a more intense effect the first few weeks after a change of insulins and then your body kind of gets accustomed to it. That happened to me with Fiasp, though I still prefer it over Humalog/Novolog. So that might explain why you’re getting such a fast onset with R. But I certainly hope it keeps up, it’s always great when you discover something new that actually works.

As always YDMV, or as Duke Ellington said, “If it sounds good, it IS good.”


Thanks for your comment DrBB… I also got tremendously unpredictable peaks with NPH which I used up until a few years ago. The “R” doesn’t seem to give me these peaks…

I hope that I’m not just in a “honeymoon” period with “R”. I’ll certainly keep the Forum informed if “R” seems to lose its speed an effectiveness. Right now though, I’m in love with this stuff…

Like you, I used “R” from 1983 (it was quite new then and was a huge improvement over beef or pork insulins) till the late '90’s when I got on the “Humalog” bandwagon… Still used NPH till 2010 though…

I saw peaks with Lantus and Toujeo as well and still do.

Luckily, with the Dexcom CGM, nothing “grave” can happen because of the peaks of any type of insulin.

For diabetics who don’t have health insurance for prescriptions though or who can’t afford a physician visit, Walmart’s $25.00 per vial over-the-counter insulin is a godsend!

BTW: I also use the ReliOn (Walmart) glucose testing meter which costs about $10 for the meter and $17.00 for 100 test strips. It allows for forearm testing (uses a tiny sample of blood, just like the expensive-to-use FreeStyle meter) and strips are readily available.

As much as everybody hates it and complains about it, Walmart is really a diabetic’s best friend, especially if you don’t have the advantages of good health insurance.


I used R, L and U for about 16 years and I lived just fine. I live better with the current insulin s but yes in a pinch I woudl go back. Not because I want to but if I had too, I would surely do it.

So should you change? I would not unless it was necessary, but yes is it is possible. Test more, be careful with R is not nearly as smooth acting and be sure and tell your doctor. It may seem like it is just insulin, but it is not. It is different.


I’ve used “fast acting” insulins as Humalog and Novolog since they became available about 25 years ago …over the years, especially in the last 8 years, I’ve found that I don’t get any “action” from Humalog or Novolog (10 ml vials) for 3 to 4 hours after injection

Fascinating @Fred_E - I thought I was the only lifer who’d developed issues of extreme onset delay using Humalog.

I switched to FiASP 2 months ago and have far better results (onset in minutes, not hours). I wonder if I should test the far less expensive Humulin R?

Please keep us posted :grinning:


Hi Jim,
I am comforted to know that I’m not crazy. My diabatic “specialist” doctor insisted that it was IMPOSSIBLE for Humalog/Novolog to stay in one’s system for that long. My experience was that Fiasp is an improvement, but I still have long delays before it starts to take effect. Humulin R starts acting almost immediately…

Since you’re in Canada, doesn’t insulin come free with your nation’s health care system? Fiasp and Humulin shouldn’t cost anything???


Fred - its a common misconception that Canada’s National Healthcare pays for individuals prescription or over the counter medicine(s). We have private health insurance, as well as provincial healthcare insurance programs, but both require someone to pay monthly premiums + deductible.

I’m self-employed so do not have any healthcare insurance.


This is strange. I wonder if one builds up antibodies against some insulins that bind them and release them only slowly.

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I could see R and U/L working very well together. It’s a shame they discontinued the Lente insulins and the only cheap over-the-counter basal alternative is NPH. Regular is very dependable, I really think the horrors many people remember from the 90s were caused by the NPH. From what I’ve read human Ultralente had a similar profile to Levemir.

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Though I don’t have any science background, I suspect this is what’s happening. There is a significant minority of people who claimed that human insulins caused extreme hypounawareness when they were introduced, and I read some people say Humalog fixed the problem. I wonder if human insulin generates the least amount of immune response, which can be beneficial for some people who have an extreme immune response to animal or analogue insulins.

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Yes. I liked UL.


I’m happy to read that you found Humulin R works well for you. Many people who eat limited carbs will often use Regular insulin to dose for low carb meals with a significant protein content.

I have had problems in the past honoring the longer onset time of R vs. rapid acting analog insulins. One time, while waiting for the needed 45 minutes to begin eating, I fell asleep in an easy chair and woke up on the floor due to serious hypoglycemia since I failed to eat the meal I dosed for. I know this is an extreme experience but it does point out that adequate pre-bolusing of R requires a more watchful eye on the clock.

Good luck with your continued success with Humulin R!

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I had that misconception. Thanks for setting me straight on Canada’s health insurance program.

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That is great it is working better for you. Novolog can drop me very fast sometimes so I have to always be careful and I rarely prebolus, no more than 10 minutes for a high now. Novolog is the best for me, I tried humalog and it was worse. I am on a pump now and I will not go back to mdi/ long acting unless for an emergency. I think many people did not do well on older insulins and had severe lows, maybe on nph . I would not call the newer insulins a fad, I think novolog has been on the market since 2000.


I have had tyoe one for 43 years, and was diagnosed at age three and started injections immediately wirh Monotard and Actrapid with glass syringes, then onto protophane . Like yourself Fred and Jim I too wait two hours for Humalig/Novorapid to work. I can set a watch to it, They also come on strong at the 2 to 2 and a half hour mark, it’s like it goes somewhere for two hours then comes out and starts working strong. I have a few vials of R in the fridge, I’m going to test it now. I had to laugh at the doctor who said it’s impossible, it’s not only possible it’s 100% probable.
Edit: I do a lot of I M shots so I don’t have to wait so long, the marks it leaves are terrible, but theres nothing else I can do.

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Now that’s something I’ve never done with R! That’s smart.


Glad to see this subject brought up: I’m another that has to wait for Humalog/Novolog action, though I can see action in close to an hour, not 2 hours. Humalog worked what seemed amazingly quickly when I first tried it, in the 90s, but within a year or so I was noticing it took longer and longer. No doctor I brought it up with seems to have a clue. I often now notice residual action after 6 hours. One reason it hasn’t gotten me more upset is that my digestion, these days, seems to often kind of match the current Humalog action.

(I did, about 20 years ago, have a period when I seemed to be allergic to every insulin I tried, Humalog, Novolog, Humulin R, and even a pork insulin R. The NIH allergist prescribed 3 antihistamines for a while, and the irritated sites, rash, and body-wide welts went away, and I could go back down to my regular dosages.)

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