WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Insulin pumps
provide better blood sugar control for adults with diabetes than
multiple daily insulin injections, a new study says.
Insulin pumps are small devices that are worn by patients and
deliver constant amounts of insulin to the body through a catheter
placed under the skin.
The multicenter, international study was funded by medical
device maker Medtronic and included 331 people aged 30 to 75. All
of the patients had poorly controlled type 2 diabetes and were
using multiple daily injections of insulin to control their blood
The patients were randomly assigned to either continue using
injections or to switch to an insulin pump.
After six months, patients who used the insulin pumps had a much
greater reduction in average blood sugar levels than those who used
injections, the study found. According to the researchers, twice as
many patients in the pump group reached the blood sugar control
target range (55 percent vs. 28 percent).
By the end of the study, patients in the pump group required a
20 percent lower daily dose of insulin than those in the injection
group. Patients in the pump group also averaged nearly three hours
less per day with high blood sugar than those in the injection
group, the team reported July 2 in
According to the study, the amount of time people spent with
extremely low blood sugar remained similarly low in both the pump
and injection groups.
"Our findings open up a valuable new treatment option for those
individuals [who are] failing on current injection regimens," study
author Yves Reznik, from the University of Caen Cote de Nacre
Regional Hospital Center in France, said in a journal news release.
He believes that the devices "may also provide improved
convenience, reducing the burden of dose tracking and scheduling,
and decreasing insulin injection omissions."
Two experts in the United States weren't surprised by the
"Many people with type 2 diabetes work hard to maximize the
benefit of multiple daily injections of insulin but still struggle
to keep their blood glucose values in target range," said Virginia
Peragallo-Dittko, executive director of the Diabetes and Obesity
Institute at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.
She said the study "supports use of an insulin pump as another
safe and effective treatment option for this particular group of
patients without promoting weight gain or hypoglycemia."
Dr. Gerald Bernstein directs the Diabetes Management Program at
the Friedman Diabetes Institute, part of Beth Israel Medical Center
in New York City. He believes that insulin pumps may be the future
of diabetes care, but hurdles remain.
Because of insurance-related "inhibitors in our health care
system," use of the devices "has not become common practice in the
U.S.," Bernstein said.
While daily self-injections have been the standard of care for
decades, "for many [patients] where personal discipline plays a
role, injections just don't do it," Bernstein said. Making the
switch to an insulin pump also means that "you also need a
sophisticated diabetes educator and pump trainer," he added.
However, Bernstein believes that "the future is bright -- pump
and continuous monitor use is increasing, which should mean a
reduction in price. All of the effort is to improve quality of
life, productivity and reduce the risk for complications."
The American Diabetes Association has more about