Compare Actos vs. Novolog

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Actos
(Pioglitazone)

Novolog
(Insulin Aspart)

Lowers blood sugar. Actos (Pioglitazone) is a last-choice blood sugar-lowering medicine since it's only moderately effective but has a lot of undesirable side effects.Lowers blood sugar. Novolog is a fast-acting insulin that provides meal-time sugar control. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.121387283236994Actos
Reviews for Actos (Pioglitazone)
42%
of people say Actos (Pioglitazone) is worth it
31%
say it works well
21%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Novolog (Insulin Aspart)
58%
+16% vs. Actos (Pioglitazone)
46%
+15% vs. Actos (Pioglitazone)
18%
+3% vs. Actos (Pioglitazone)
Side effects
ActosNovolog
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 4%
  • Sore throat 4%
  • Cardiac failure 2%
  • Muscle pain 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
More Actos side effects »

The Novolog FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Novolog side effects »
How it works
ActosNovolog
Actos (Pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic drug. It improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.Novolog is a short-acting insulin medicine for diabetes. It acts like the insulin that your body normally makes to process sugars and fats, and it keeps your blood sugar stable after meals.
Type of medication
ActosNovolog
Anti-diabetic
Thiazoladinedione
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Insulin
Prescription only
Available as
ActosNovolog
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
ActosNovolog
Risk factors for serious side effects
ActosNovolog
  • Heart failure diagnosis
    • Current liver problems
      • Female
      Detailed Actos (Pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
      • Insulin dose too high
      • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
      • Poor injection techniques
      • Unstable kidney functions
      • Unstable liver functions
      • Use of other medicine that lowers potassium
      • Current electrolyte imbalance
        Detailed Novolog (Insulin Aspart) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        ActosNovolog
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

        Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.
        • You have to check your blood sugar multiple times every day, usually before each meal.
        • Novolog is a fast-acting insulin that provides sugar control after meals.
        • Short-acting insulin good for blood sugar control around meal times.
        • Take 5 to 10 minutes before a meal. Effects last for 2-4 hours.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
        • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
        • Actos (Pioglitazone) can cause too much fluid buildup in your body, which can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Your doctor should follow your blood tests and weight closely when you start Actos (Pioglitazone) or increase your dose. People with heart failure classification NYHA Class III/IV shouldn't use Actos (Pioglitazone).
        • Actos (Pioglitazone) may increase fluid buildup in your body, called edema. The risk increases with a higher dose. Tell your doctor about any unexpected weight gain, swelling of extremities, or trouble breathing.
        • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
        • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
        Upsides and benefits
        ActosNovolog
        • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
        • Lowers A1c levels by around 1%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
        • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
        • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
        • Insulin is the most effective blood sugar-lowering medicine. When used correctly, it'll lower blood sugar every time you use it and prevent the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
        • Novolog is a fast-acting insulin that provides sugar control after meals.
        • Dose can be easily adjusted to make a customized regimen that's tailored to your body.
        • Starting insulin early in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can maintain your body's insulin-producing cells and slow down disease progression.
        • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
        Downsides and risks
        ActosNovolog
        • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
        • You have to check your blood sugar regularly with this medicine.
        • Has more side effects than similar medicines, so it's usually not the first choice for new Type 2 diabetes patients.
        • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
        • Up to 1 in 10 people might get fluid retention (edema), ranging from mild ankle swelling to severe swelling in the lungs that makes it hard to breathe. People with severe congestive heart failure shouldn't use Actos.
        • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
        • Slightly raises the risk of bladder cancer.
        • You have to take insulin by injection.
        • You have to check your blood sugar multiple times every day, usually before each meal.
        • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
        • Higher risk of low blood sugar episodes than other kinds of diabetes medicines.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        ActosNovolog
        • Takes several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
        • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
        • Tell your doctor about any mental confusion, persistent abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising.
        • Not recommended for patients with certain heart problems.
        • Check your blood sugar regularly.
        • Short-acting insulin good for blood sugar control around meal times.
        • Take 5 to 10 minutes before a meal. Effects last for 2-4 hours.
        • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
        • Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, nervousness, headache, blurry vision, trouble thinking clearly, or passing out.
        • Always have a good source of sugar nearby for low blood sugar episodes.
        • Make sure you understand how to give yourself the injections.
        • When mixing with another insulin (such as insulin NPH), draw this insulin into the syringe first.
        • Don't shake the vial. Store unopened vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials are good at room temperature for 28 days.
        • Check your blood sugar levels every day.
        Learn more
        More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about NovologSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert