More than a little suprised

I am about to finish off a 3 month supply of Novolog so I reached into the rear of the fridge where I have about a 6 month store, I keep newer stores in the back for rotation purposes. As I brought the oldest batch to the front for immediate use I noticed the label Insulin Asparte, Generic. I checked the vial I am currently using and found it’s label says Novalog.

I realize that these two insulins are the same thing made by the same manufacturer, with, to my knowledge, the only difference being the label. What surprised me is that this happened without anyone saying a word to me. Now I am pretty informed about these kind of things, a benefit of spending time almost daily on this site, so I knew it was nothing to worry about.

Were I an uninformed diabetic I might have become quite upset/angry that a change was made without me being told.


Are you sure? Mine says Novolog.

I am using the $99 cash pay card (3 vials) from mfg, and just confirmed it is still Novolog.
Will recheck insurance formulary for next year. 2019 was novolog, 2020 is humalog. What will 2021 be???

@Stemwinder_Gary, a drug really has three names: BRAND, generic, and chemical.

  • Novolog is the brand name and only product marketed Novo Nordisk AVS from Denmark.
  • Insulin aspart is the generic name for Novolog,
  • The chemical name is: L-phenylalanyl-L-valyl-L-asparagyl-L-glutaminyl-L-histidyl-L-leucyl-L-cysteinyl-glycyl-L-seryl-L-histidyl-L-leucyl-L-valyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-alanyl-L-leucyl-L-tyrosyl-L-leucyl-L-valyl-L-cysteinyl-glycyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-arginyl-glycyl-L-phenylalanyl-L-phenylalanyl-L-tyrosyl-L-threonyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-lysyl-L-threonine (7->7’),(19->20’)-bis(disulfide) compound with glycyl-L-isoleucyl-L-valyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-glutaminyl-L-cysteinyl-L-cysteinyl-L-threonyl-L-seryl-L-isoleucyl-L-cysteinyl-L-seryl-L-leucyl-L-tyrosyl-L-glutaminyl-L-leucyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-asparagyl-L-tyrosyl-L-cysteinyl-L-asparagine (6’->11’)-disulfide.
  • while the molecular nomenclature is: C256H381N65O79S6 (note the numbers should be subscripts).

Hope this helps. The key is the manufacturer of your insulin and the country of your acquisition of the insulin aspart

Keep us posted. It is how we learn…

This practice is called non medical switching. It is like, but not really like, using a generic for a name brand pill.

In this case it is the exact same insulin. Your insurance company has made an economic decision to use the lesser cost.

Here is where it breaks down. Suppose there were two products functionally the same. But not identical in make up. This would be called a biosimilar. Humalog and Novolog are bio similar, functionally the same but different.

Now recall that most people in our community get very upset if the insurance company changes formulary and the company is changed. Well in the bio medication community A change might be truly devastating. in today’s world Bio-Similar companies are now making a large swath of of very expensive medications.

For instance, my RA medication has a list price of 25K per administration with 6 doses per yea.r $125K. when bio similar comes on the market it will likely cost about 80K per year. A large incentive to switch.

But since i never see the vial i might never know what i got, if I am not informed before hand. In fact i might not know what it I received ever.

For that reason those us who use these medications we are demanding that non medical forced switching not be allowed. It goes like this if a docotr prescribes differently then fine, that is a medical reason. If not then switching cannot be be done unless our doctor and we agree.

We ask for general support for our position. We know that someday Humalog and Novolog may be biosimilar insulin, but eventual insulin will be more broadly produced. After all if the biosimilar manufacturers have set up to make RA medications. they can certianily produce bio similar insulin. Please help us stop non medical switching)


I understand why I was switched and I know that there was no harm done. My only issue is that I was not told.

I wasn’t really thinking of myself but rather the isolated diabetic that may not have know the meds were the exact same products. Insulin is highest on the priority list for type ones and for insulin dependent T2s like me. I imagine it might be frightening to learn that it was changed without warning or explanation.

They made non-medical switching illegal in Minnesota last year (at least during mid-year). They can only re-negotiate this stuff at the start of the year when the insurance term restarts.

My insurer typically sends a letter to notify. You might give them a call and ask why you did not receive a letter and ask if this is standard practice. Sometimes they notify the Doc instead.

Insulin is not really a chemical. It is a protein.
Actually 2 protein chains called peptides.
You accurately listed all the amino acids in that chain though.
It is made by transfecting the human insulin dna into bacteria.

The bacteria become insulin factories. Remove the dead cell debris and Bingo!!! You have human insulin. Well human recombinant insulin anyway.

Proteins are chemicals…

I don’t agree although know they are involved in chemical processes. Proteins are biologic chains of amino acids.

Even the peptides that are insulin, although altered are still created biologically by hijacking a bacterium’s biologic process

If insulin could be created chemically, it would be. It would be far easier. However no one knows how to create protein chains any other way.

When scientists look for life on Mars, they are looking for proteins because we know that protein chains
do not occur without a biological process. So if there is protein, there is life.

In the lab where I work, a protein would never be referred to as a chemical.
But you know there are broader definitions in the larger community