Insulin Pumps May Work Better Than Shots In Type 1 Diabetes

    “Good evidence is now available to support the use of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion in the appropriate patient. It is essential to consider adverse events, late complications of diabetes, mortality and cost when deciding whether [a pump] is appropriate for the patient,” Misso said.

    For people who likely have to deal with their condition for the rest of their lives, convenience is another consideration that comes into play.

    The advantages of using the insulin pump include being able to avoid possibly painful injections several times a day. In addition, pumps administer the medication without the user having to find a private place to give the injection.

    The downside to pump use includes having to wear it like a pager or cell phone throughout the day, concerns about protecting the tubing that goes into the body –– although wireless pumps have recently come on the market –– and worries about breaking the pump during rough play or exposure to water.

    Ramin Alemzadeh, M.D., director of the Diabetes Program at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, cautioned that although the researchers reported pumps might improve glucose control overall, pediatric patients should not expect major changes in the longer-term control of blood glucose.

    “In our experience, we don’t see a significant overall blood glucose improvement beyond six months or one year of treatment in most children and adolescents. Initially, the patient’s HbA1c levels improve, but after a while levels begin to rise and are not significantly different from where they started,” Alemzadeh said. “A patient’s diabetes management starts with them and their family. How well they do is independent of which method of insulin administration they use.”

    The review discloses that one of the co-authors has received compensation for lectures and advisory board participation from companies who make insulin or insulin pumps. His department has also received funding for research and educational activities from these companies.

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