Endocrine Consult

Insulin Pump Therapy: Who, Why, and How

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With new technology available to aid patients, diabetes management in the 21st century is moving beyond metformin. Among these advances are insulin pumps, which are not just for the young and tech-savvy. In fact, in 2016, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) revised their Standards in Medical Care to recommend patients 65 and older continue to use their insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGMs), rather than forego technology for more traditional treatment options.1

Insulin pumps enhance or mimic the role of the pancreas by providing a background, or basal, rate of insulin, as well as boluses for food or glucose corrections. A small catheter is inserted under the skin—in the same areas used for injections (eg, arm, thigh, abdomen)—to release ­insulin.2

While the benefits of technology cannot always be quantified, there are data to suggest insulin pumps can reduce A1C by 1.1% in patients with type 2 diabetes. In tandem with CGMs, insulin pumps have been shown to be cost effective in those with a history of severe hypoglycemia.3,4


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