Compare Human Insulin vs. Actos

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

(Human Insulin)


Lowers blood sugar. This form of insulin is one of the few medications in its class that you can get without a prescription, but it's expensive.Lowers blood sugar. Actos (pioglitazone) can improve blood sugar control but is not a top choice since it has a lot of side effects.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.95Human Insulin
Reviews for Human Insulin
of people (All ages) say Human Insulin is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Humulin (Human Insulin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Actos
+25% better vs. Human Insulin
+16% better vs. Human Insulin
+10% better vs. Human Insulin
175 reviews
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Human InsulinActos

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

More about Human Insulin side effects »
  • Muscle pain 2%
  • Sore throat 4%
  • Sinus infection 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Heart failure 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Colds and flu 4%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
More Actos side effects »
How it works
Human InsulinActos
Insulin is a hormone normally produced by your pancreas. It helps your body absorb and store sugar and fat from your bloodstream.Actos (pioglitazone) is a thiazolidinedione that improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
Human InsulinActos
Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
Human InsulinActos
  • Injection
  • Inhaler
  • Pill
Used for
Human InsulinActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
Human InsulinActos
    Detailed Humulin (Human Insulin) risks & warnings »
    • Heart failure
    • Current liver problems
    • History of bladder cancer
    • Women
    Detailed Actos (pioglitazone) risks & warnings »

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

    Human InsulinActos
    No food related info.
    • Take once a day with or without food.
    Kidneys and liver
    Human InsulinActos
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    • If you've had liver problems or damage in the past, talk to your doctor before starting Actos (pioglitazone), since there's a small chance that it can hurt your liver. Tell your doctor about any stomach pain that don't go away, dark urine, or yellowing of eyes/skin. Your doctor will check your liver regularly.
    Human InsulinActos
    • People on Humulin (Human Insulin) can experience weight gain. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about changing your diet if this bothers you.
    • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
    • Can cause weight gain.
    Upsides and benefits
    Human InsulinActos
    • Some types of this medication are available without a prescription.
    • Available as a shot to be injected into the fatty part of the skin, and as a powder to be inhaled through your nose.
    • Available in different combinations so that you can do one shot or multiple shots a day.
    • Improves sugar control and lowers A1c levels by around 1%.
    • Easily taken by mouth as a once a day pill.
    • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs.
    • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
    • Lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.
    Downsides and risks
    Human InsulinActos
    • Has to be taken exactly as directed or it can cause high or low blood sugar.
    • As with all insulins, you have to work with your doctor closely to make sure you're giving yourself the correct dose, or you can have low or high blood sugar.
    • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
    • Can cause weight gain.
    • People with heart failure or history of bladder cancer shouldn't use this medicine.
    • Some people might get fluid accumulation (edema), from minor ankle swelling to fluid in lungs that makes it hard to breathe.
    • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    Human InsulinActos
    • Change the location where you give yourself the shot every time.
    • Don't use if the liquid in the vial looks different than normal.
    • Store the unopened vials in the refrigerator. The used vials can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days.
    • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
    • Know the symptoms of low blood sugar.
    • Take once a day with or without food.
    • May need several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
    • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
    • Tell your doctor about any shortness of breath, heart troubles, or unusual swelling.
    • Not recommended for patients with a history of heart failure or bladder cancer.
    • Check your blood sugar regularly.
    Learn more
    More about Human InsulinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Humulin (Human Insulin)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it