Compare Novolog vs. Actos

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

Novolog
(Insulin Aspart)

Actos
(Pioglitazone)

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.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.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.758620689655173Novolog
Reviews for Novolog (Insulin Aspart)
58%
of people say Novolog (Insulin Aspart) is worth it
46%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Actos (Pioglitazone)
42%
16% vs. Novolog (Insulin Aspart)
31%
15% vs. Novolog (Insulin Aspart)
21%
3% vs. Novolog (Insulin Aspart)
Side effects
NovologActos

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

More about Novolog side effects »
  • 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 »
How it works
NovologActos
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.Actos (Pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic drug. It improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
NovologActos
Anti-diabetic
Insulin
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Thiazoladinedione
Prescription only
Available as
NovologActos
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
NovologActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
NovologActos
  • 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 »
    • Heart failure diagnosis
      • Current liver problems
        • Female
        Detailed Actos (Pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        NovologActos
        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
        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
        Alcohol
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        • 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.
        No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
        • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
        • 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.
        Upsides and benefits
        NovologActos
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Downsides and risks
        NovologActos
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        NovologActos
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Learn more
        More about NovologSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert